Nerd Girls, United to Show "Smart Is the New Pretty"
Pro-technology group focuses less on math and science, more on creativity
- Engineering is not just math and science, says the Nerd Girls founder Karen Panetta, but also perseverance and openness to learning, other skills that girls (and women) have just as much as boys.
- To celebrate those natures, Panetta founded Nerd Girls to foster girls’ interest in engineering via extracurricular interests and activities.
- “The two things that were never put together,” Panetta told the technology news site Product Design & Development “were that women could be a lot of different things, and at the same time they could be engineers.”
- The group aims to help women overcome insecurities and impressions of engineering. It works with younger girls, using arts and crafts to build basic engineering skills and problem solving.
- Nerd Girls also celebrates how engineers are not all Dilberts. “Nerd Girls is about breaking down that visual stigma and showing women that they can be dancers, models, singers, etc. and still be an engineer, and that smart is the new pretty.”
- Panetta recruits Nerd Girls volunteers in part as Chair of the IEEE Education Society, Boston Section. The group has spread across the US and now is growing internationally, with potential in South Korea, Turkey and India, and next is a reality TV show.
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