#ItWasNeverADress STEAM Conference Recap: Confidence, careers and capes

Over the weekend 50 girls ages 12 to 17 spent their weekend at Axosoft, learning about STEAM fields, confidence, and leadership from some of the Valley’s tech and non-tech leaders.
The conference began with introductions from Axosoft’s Tania Katan, Miss Phoenix 2015 Kaitlin Vortherms, Miss Gilbert 2015 Lauren McBurnett, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.
Both Vortherms and McBurnett are Arizona State University engineering majors pursuing higher education degrees in graduate and PhD programs and were invited to inspire the girls on what they could accomplish.
“Having greater participation by women in the technology economy is hugely important,” Stanton said. “Number one, it’s a huge talent pool that we’re lucky enough to have. Two, imagine the apps and programs that will be thought of because there are women involved that otherwise wouldn’t be if it was a completely male dominated field.”

The two day conference included activities and seminars based around STEAM fields and confidence. The 50 participants even created their own capes.
“STEAM and STEM and getting more women in technology and understanding that it can be paired with the arts and a very important endeavor because we are losing women at an alarming rate and we want to be able to empower them,” Vortherms said.
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Speakers included CodaKid founder David Dodge, entrepreneur Evan Clark, ASU professor Hilary Harp, and Axosoft CEO Lawdan Shojaee. By the end of the conference, each girl had created a business plan to either start a STEAM club/organization or help infuse STEAM into the learning curriculum.
“To know that other girls want to be in science and engineering and arts and doing really cool things in the world, if that’s the only thing they take away from this conference that’s going to be so phenomenal to them,” McBurnett said.
For more coverage on Arizona’s technology scene, visit AZ Tech Beat.