Digital Divas event at Eastern Michigan University April 21 seeks to connect young women with careers in technology

More than 500 students from area schools and programs to attend annual event

YPSILANTI – For every 100 jobs in IT, information assurance and cyber security, only 12 are filled by women.

That powerful understanding serves as a key motivation for the annual high school Digital Divas event, set for Friday, April 21 at Eastern Michigan University.

The crowd for the Digital Divas annual event fills the EMU Student Center Ballroom.

The one-day conference encourages and engages female high school students to consider technology-based careers while giving them an opportunity to meet and network with professors and students. Beginning with under 100 attendees, the EMU Digital Divas conference has grown to over 900 in the past seven years, expanding into fall (middle schools) and spring events. About 550 students are expected to attend Friday’s conference.

The event, hosted by the EMU College of Technology, seeks to connect young women to opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Other specific goals include:

  • Recruiting young women into technology majors in post-secondary education.
  • Breaking down gender stereotypes regarding tech careers.
  • Creating awareness of safe online interactions.
  • Encouraging ethical behaviors in texting, emailing and social media.
  • Offering hands-on projects to build confidence in girl with STEM.

“The College believes recruiting and supporting the young women the U.S. needs in the fast-growing technology and computer science fields requires strong commitment, leadership and coordinated efforts from educators, relevant organizations and the business community,” said Bia Hamed, Student Services Coordinator in the college and an organizer of the event.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. for the event, with a ballroom program and keynote address in the EMU Student Center from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Breakout sessions on specific topics will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., with lunch in between.

Girls from more than 20 schools or organizations located around the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area and southeastern Michigan are scheduled to attend the event.

Schools or groups attending include:

• Rhonda Walker Foundation

• Warren Consolidated Schools Career Prep Center

• Peckham Right Turn Program

• Osborn Evergreen Academy of Design & Alternative Energy

• Pathfinder Middle School

• Harrison High School

• Michigan Islamic Academy

• Anchor Bay High School

• Girl Scout Troop 41826

• Southfield High School for the Arts & Technology

• Trenton High School

• Hartland High School

• Brighton High School

• GET IT/ Walled Lake

• Anchor Bay High School

• Detroit Collegiate Prep High School

• Girl Scout Troop 41095

• Ann Arbor Huron High School

• Howell High School

• Oakland Schools

• Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

• Voyageur College Prep

The numerous breakout sessions are intended to be instructive, stimulating and, in a variety of cases, hands-on.

Breakout session topics include:

• Where, Why and How of Wind Energy.

• Beyond the Limits of the Sky - Girls with Wings – discovering careers in aviation.

• Build your own website: An introduction to HTML and CSS.

• Painting with Pixels: Designing User Interfaces for Applications and Software.

• Architectural/Interior Digital 3D Modeling.

• Code Breaker by Chrysler.

• Code Cars with General Motors.

• Fashionology: Developing a simple 3-D garment design.

• Drone Flying Demo and Other Unmanned Vehicles.

• Step up to the Mic-Newest Technology in AV.

• Digital Zoo—Bring Your Stuffed Animals to Life. Or: Connecting your Teddy Bear to the Internet.

• Create Your Own Mobil App.

• EcoCAR—Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition.

• FIRST Females: Lightning Robotics team.

• Software Design-How to do it with a paper and crayon.

• Build Your Own Motion Detector.

•  Secret Messages and Flower Green Chemistry.

• Digital Decisions: A Cyber Safety Choose Your Own Adventure.

• Made With Code, Presented by Google.

The Digital Divas event was founded by Gerald "Skip" Lawver, a former professor in the COT. For further detail on the breakout sessions, please see the Digital Divas website.  

The event is sponsored by AT&T, ITC Holdings, DTE Energy, Mercedes Benz Financial and the American Associaton of University Women, Ann Arbor Branch.

If you have any questions, please contact Bia Hamed at 734.487.8659 or

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.



April 15, 2017

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom