WCC held its first-ever High-Tech Girl’s Day on March 22, 2022. The event held on the main campus was organized as part of a recruitment campaign to attract females into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs, particularly Information Technology.

Attendees participated in hands-on networking and coding activities related to MerleFest preparation and setup: Wifi and fiber-optic cabling stage setup; programming a mock Merlefest artist webpage using Javascript. Sessions were led by college personnel as well as industry representatives.

Kristen Macemore, Dean of Business and Public Service Technologies said, “The number of females enrolled in our Information Technology program has been dwindling over the last decade. Common misconceptions about the field can deter females from pursuing a career in IT, but their contribution is valuable. We want to inspire females to find their place in IT and raise awareness of educational pathways that can get them there.”

According to NC Tech Association, there are over 48,000 Information Technology jobs available in North Carolina.

Computer Specialists with a 2-year AAS degree are averaging $62,000 in wages per year in the Boone/Wilkesboro area (Source: www.nccareers.org).

Melonie Kilby, Business and Technologies Chair stated, “Our WCC High Tech Girls Day presented an opportunity for females to see that they are completely capable of success in an Information Technology field. The look of empowerment on their faces, after a short hands-on demonstration in software development and networking, proves that they are ready to step out and conquer big things.”

Several WCC employees recently participated in professional development through the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS) which is a nationally renowned organization focused on ensuring that working women are part of the science and technology landscape. IWITTS strives to bridge the gender gap in technology for women and girls given they have made the fewest inroads in the science and technology workforce and are among those most in need of better jobs. The absence of women in STEM fields results in missed opportunities for employers, given that women bring a different perspective that shapes and influences STEM disciplines.