Friends, family and Geek Girl Rising fans came out in force at this week’s book talk at Book Passage Corte Madera, California where an amazing panel of women in tech– Sona Dolasia, UC Berkeley computer science student and founder of Reaching Out with Robotics, Jamie Corley, co-founder of TheBridge, and Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO and co-founder of HireAthena, talked about the need for more women in the startup world, and strategies for inspiring the next generation of girls to pursue STEM studies and careers, particularly in computer science and engineering.
17-year-old Dolasia, who is graduating from Tam High School this week and heading to UC Berkeley to study computer science in the fall, started Reaching Out With Robotics in 2014, during her sophomore year. ROWR is a STEM program where she and a group of teen mentors teach middle schoolers how to program semi-autonomous machines. A fan of math and puzzles since she was a kid, Dolasia said she was introduced to STEM and technology through her middle school robotics club. But when she got to high school, she realized that not everyone had had those same opportunities. “Bayside MLK (a local middle school) does not have a very strong science and math department. By introducing them to different aspects of engineering, like robotics, we hoped to get the students more engaged in interested in these subjects.”
Jamie Corley, a relative newcomer to Silicon Valley and the tech world, started her career in politics as a staffer on Capitol Hill, as national press secretary for U.S. Senator Bob Corker and communications director and spokesperson for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. She founded TheBridge to connect Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. The bi-weekly newsletter and jobs board reaches inboxes at the world’s top tech firms and political power houses, including Google, Facebook, Slack, The White House, U.S. Senate and political campaigns. ncisco, C
Kristen Koh Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of HireAthena, an accounting and human resources platform for small businesses, talked about the challenges facing women in our society and her mission to “bring a million moms back to work.” “To initiate change in our society, we need options for moms (and dads) to work flexible hours while their children are young. Today moms often leave the workforce just as they hit their professional stride.” Her San Francisco-based startup matches small and medium sized business with stay-at-home talent.
The event included a hands-on “makers stations” where kids played with Goldieblox engineering toys for girls, Blink Blink electronic circuits kits, and MagnaTiles.