Digital Divas event at Eastern Michigan University provides more than 500 area high school girls a glimpse into the great possibilities of STEM-based careers

Conference offers look at opportunities in fields such as IT, information assurance and cyber security while showcasing cool skills such as creating mobile apps

Young girls experimenting at the 2019 Digital Divas event.

YPSILANTI – It's always a memorable image – 500 high school girls filling up the Student Center Ballroom as they hear about careers in technology, engineering and math along with the expanding field of cyber security.

The big breakfast and luncheon gatherings were just part of a day of deep learning for the area high school girls at the annual Digital Divas conference, held Friday, April 12 at Eastern Michigan University. 

The one-day conference gives young women the chance to connect with and learn from individuals in STEM careers. The event consists of guest speakers and breakout sessions for hands-on learning.

The conference featured Farah Harb, EMU alumna and Global Education Programs Analyst, Ford Fund, as the keynote speaker, and Elise Buggs Sturdivant, director of Academic Success Partnerships at Eastern, as the welcoming speaker. Harb, who in her role at Ford oversees scholarship opportunities along with funding for student-led projecs that address social needs, offered an inspiring message of how the girls can support each other in their academic and caree pursuits.

Sessions offered STEM learning activities as well as networking with professional women and EMU students, who led hands-on workshops. The session topics ranged from creating your own mobile app to an unmanned drone sector and beyond.

“This program is about building a culture of Women in STEM,” said Bia Hamed, coordinator of the event and head of student services in the EMU College of Technology. “Digital Divas brings together girls from all over southeast Michigan to a space where females support females.

“Our goal is to make girls in STEM majors and careers a welcoming and familiar place. Digital Divas brings women from many STEM organizations, who give of their time and knowledge, together with middle and high school girls to show them possibilities available to them with a STEM career.”

Next fall with feature the annual Digital Divas event for middle school girls along with Digital Dudes, an event for area boys, Hamed said.

Schools attending the April 12 conference included:

• Southfield A&T

• Southfield Regional High school

• Airport Schools

• Lincoln High School

• Harrison High School

• Farmington High School

• North Farmington High school

• Airport School's Upward Bound 

• Ann Arbor Huron High School

• Fordson High School

• Peckham

• Rhonda Walker Foundation

• William D. Ford Career Tech Center

• Warren Consolidated Career Center

Sponsors for the event included at&t, ITC, Consumers Energy, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, the DTE Foundation, AAUW Ann Arbor Branch and the EMU College of Technology.

For more information about Digital Divas, visit the Digital Divas website.

For more information regarding academic programs in the College of Technology and Eastern Michigan, contact Bia Hamed at 734-487-8659 or email her at

About Eastern Michigan University           

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 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 10, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom