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Digital Diva conference opens door for young women to find great STEM careers

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This will change your impression of a diva.

The 500 young women coming to Eastern Michigan University’s campus on April 22 to attend the Digital Divas conference are anything, but prima donnas but they are there to learn how to have a distinguished and successful STEM career.

These young women will learn concepts that could give them high-paying careers in the fast-growing technology and computer science fields, They’ll find out how wind turbines work, what it takes to become an airline pilot and how to hide and encode information.

One of them might very well be the next Steve Jobs,  a famous airline pilot like Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, III, an astronaut like Sally Ride and Mae Jemison or be like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was named one of the most powerful woman in technology on the Forbes’ Power Women list for the fourth consecutive time last year.

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They’ll have a lot to choose from. There will be more than 20 interactive STEM sessions to explore and they can network with industry leaders, professors and students.

“The Digital Divas Conference at EMU will provide these young women with a great opportunity to explore high-paying exciting careers in the technology field,” said Pamela Becker, a professor and interim director for the School of Technology and Professional Services Management in the College of Technology at EMU. “There are so many more options available now for women who pursue careers in technology, and women are highly sought.”

The one-day conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Student Center, located at 900 Oakwood Street in Ypsilanti. The doors open at 8 a.m. and the main program will begin at 9:15 a.m. with opening remarks from keynote speaker Debbie Dingell, the U.S. Representative to Congress from Michigan’s 12th District.

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A total of 22 breakout sessions will be offered on topics such as:

  • Architectural/Interior Digital 3D Modeling – Using Sketchup and Photoshop, the participants will build 3D models of residential houses and render the image and be able to take home their 3D model images.
  • Beyond the Limits of the Sky: Girls With Wings – Participants will learn all about what it takes to become a pilot.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure: Think Like a Graphic Designer! – Students will immerse themselves in the design process, brainstorm wild ideas and then bring those ideas to life through art and technology using the PopApp to digitize their designs and create a working app on their smartphones.
  • Concept of Electricity – Participants will learn what materials conduct electricity – what are insulators, how to build a basic circuit and compare and contrast the basic differences of series and parallel circuits.
  •  Where, How and Why of Wind Energy – Attendees will learn how wind turbines work to generate electricity. They will find and map Michigan wind farms using aerial photography and utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) to see the relationships between the wind turbines and other environmental features.
  • EcoCAR: Alternative Energy Evolution at GM – This session will provide a demonstration of the GM EcoCAR. Participants will see a presentation on the alternative energy evolution and hear a panel discussion from GM engineers on the benefits and pathways to a STEM career in the automotive industry.
  • FCA Code Breaker – Participants will learn real-world methods of hiding and encoding information through the use of code breaking puzzles. These puzzles lead to questions focusing on the pivotal work of four different women in the areas of computing, programming languages and cryptography: Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Hedy Lamarr and Joan Clarke.
  • Made With Code by Google – This session will tell participants what it’s like to work for Google. They’ll meet some of the women working in the Ann Arbor office and find out about Google’s student programs and learn how coding affects everyone.
  • Today’s Connected Car – General Motor’s vehicles are equipped with OnStar technology, allowing for more connectivity, safety and security features than ever before. Participants will see live demonstrations and test out the latest technology firsthand.
  • Staying Safe, Smart and Savvy! – Participants will learn about cyber safety in the areas of cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, internet safety and security and digital reputation. Get educated and empowered to stop, think, connect and do it safely.

The event is free for all participants thanks to the key sponsors.

The event is free for all participants thanks to the key sponsors. They are ITC Holdings Corp, LLamasoft Supply Chair by Design, DTE Energy Foundation and Consumer’s Energy. Support also comes from A2 Yoga, Plante Moran and Allegra Printing.

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The Digital Divas conference was founded in 2011. Since that time, the program has grown to more than 500 attendees, representing 13 schools districts including schools in Oakland, Jackson, Livingston, Kent, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. The goal is to connect young women to opportunities in the fast-growing technology and computer science fields.

Eastern Michigan’s Extended Programs and the College of Technology are the hosts of the event. To learn more about the Digital Divas conference, visit

For more information about the College of Technology programs, visit 

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4 comments on “Digital Diva conference opens door for young women to find great STEM careers

  1. I think it is a useful conference. It really can be helpful and benificial to these women to get high-paying careers in the fast-growing technology and computer science fields. Thanks for the nice post.

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