[US] National Mentoring Month: Pay it Forward to a Girl

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Techbridge Girls – Huffington Post – Thursday, 23 January 2014 (originally published 15 Jan)

January is National Mentoring Month, a campaign launched in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR. It’s great that the campaign matches up when we are making resolutions for the New Year. If you haven’t yet served as a mentor, I hope that you make this the year you do. If you are already a mentor, I hope that you continue to do work that matters.

Here at Techbridge, a program to inspire girls in science, technology and engineering, mentors play an important role. Before the winter break, I spent an afternoon with 30 middle schoolers at Ocala Middle School in San Jose, California. While the girls worked on designing gingerbread structures, I asked them about their plans for the future. The girls shared a variety of interests that included an engineer and professional chef. Some girls weren’t yet sure. It’s a long way from 7th grade to college and first job and a lot can happen along the way to sustain or derail a dream.

I have seen how mentors and role models can inspire girls on a path in technology or engineering. In last year’s program, ninety-three percent of Techbridge girls shared that they were more interested in working in technology, science, or engineering because of role models and field trips. What might surprise you is how long-lasting the impact of role models can be . . .

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