Portland group goes national as it supports women and girls in tech

Portland group goes national as it supports women and girls in tech

Portland nonprofit ChickTech is taking to Indiegogo about a fundraising campaign to raise enough money to spread its programming and vision to five new cities.
The campaign kicks off Feb. 23. The group is hosting a party to celebrate downtown at 6 p.m. in the AppNexus office.
The group is looking to raise at least $15,000, said Janice Levenhagen-Seeley. That is the basic amount needed to launch a new chapter. The group wants to launch five new chapters so it is hoping to not only hit that initial amount but also to raise additional $15,000 increments.

“We are going to be creating little seed funds for each of the new chapters,” she said.
To start, the group is targeting the cities of Seattle, Chicago and New York for new chapters. Levenhagen-Seeley is still zeroing in on the remaining two cities for expansion.
ChickTech was created three years ago. It has chapters in Portland, Corvallis and the Bay Area. Its mission is to introduce high school girls to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and encourage them to pursue STEM careers. The students, many of whom have no technical background, are identified by their teachers, Levenhagen-Seeley said.
Each year, in each city, a cohort of 100 girls participates in hands-on workshops and other events. The group has so far served more than 1,500 girls and women in tech.
The theme of this fundraising campaign is: “Without diversity, technology will never reach its full potential.”
On other side of the STEM talent pipeline, ChickTech also works to create a supportive environment for its volunteers and mentors to help with retention of women in technical careers. According to federal data, within computer professionals white men make up 86.4 percent of the population. Women tend to drop out of technology fields and 40 percent of those who do do not return.


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