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Teen Girls Explore Electronics at PCC This Summer

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What: Geek Chic, a summer program at PCC’s Sylvania Campus to introduce middle school and high school age girls to the high-tech engineering field. The young women engage in hands-on activities, where they build and learn about audio speakers, motors, AM radios, and sensing and signaling circuits. The goals are to give the students positive experiences with technology, to build community, to teach about the engineering process and content, and to illustrate the relevance of technology in their lives.

When: Monday through Friday, July 13-17. The morning session at PCC for middle school age girls begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. and is full with 25 students. The afternoon session for high school age girls is scheduled for 1:30 to 5 p.m. and currently has 20 enrolled.

Where: Sylvania Campus, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave., ST Building, Lab 313.

Who: Middle school and high school age girls in the Portland metro area. The program was developed by Dr. Virginia Stonick, associate professor in electrical engineering at Oregon State University and Dr. Molly Johnson, an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Oregon. One of the returning students, Marissa Anderson, will act as an assistant instructor. Portland Community College donates laboratory space and the expertise of Fran Pelinka, lab manager for PCC’s Electronic Engineering Technology program. Geek Chic collaborates with the Saturday Academy, who facilitates enrollment and advertises the offerings. Sponsors include Intel, OSU, the U of O and PCC.

Details: Geek Chic, which was offered for the first time at PCC last August, was so successful that it is now being offered this summer in Portland, Corvallis and Eugene.

The goal is to encourage young women to consider careers in high-tech fields and to begin taking the prerequisite courses necessary to enter electronics or computing. Women continue to be under-represented in these fields, yet high-tech companies are scrambling for engineers and technicians. Five instructors from colleges and graduate schools in Oregon will be leading the program. Geek Chic stands for "Gaining Electrical Engineering Knowledge through Collaborative, Hands-on Instruction and Computing."

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