Thursday, January 1, 2015

FOCUS ~ Inspired by the Turtle Guy

Finding a Focus in 2015 ~ Inspired by the Turtle Guy

I love learning!  I’m curious about almost everything!  I’m forever in search of creativity and innovation in the world around us!  I have so many passion-based interest! I can’t tell the difference between work and play!

I usually love this state of mind, but lately I keep asking myself if I could pick only one of my interest areas, what would it be?  My friends say “why would you want to do that?”  Well I don’t really,  but if I could make myself pick one area for 2015 that would get my attention before I wander off exploring whichever of my passions catches my attentions that day,  I might make more a a difference in the world.   

And then on New Years Day I read this article from WCAX-TV about Vermont’s Turtle Guy, Steve Parren and started to wish I had the ‘focus” Steve has to focus on ONE thing he can do amongst his many talents.  Having been to Steve and Lauren’s house and having seen first hand the space in his home he has carved out  to “save the turtles”,  I started to think that carving out a space in our life that was visibly committed to a cause might be part of the process needed to gain more focus and make a bigger difference.  I also concluded that little focused steps can be just as important as  bigger more organized initiatives.   So following Steve’s lead, I’m going to pick bridging the technology-related gender gap as my 2015 daily focus.  

For those of you who know me, you will know this is not a NEW area of interest.  In the late 1990’s my work on getting girls interested in Technology was noticed by MSNBC in their article “Where are the Girls?”.  Soon after, the Vermont Institute of Science Math and Technology (VISMT) noticed that I had 40% girls in my Computer Tech program and invited me to join their team of teacher leaders as a Technology and Equity specialist.  

In August of 2000, I created a program called TechSavvyGirls as part of my capstone project in Masters of Science in Internet Engineering from Marlboro College.  Each year during the past 15 years, I have continued to design a range of activities from a day long workshops to summer camps  aimed at empowering girls with technology. TechSavvy Girls is not a specific organization,  it is a project that has evolved as I have evolved. I've worked with a variety of different people or organizations over the years to design and implement activities and events that support bridging the technology related gender gap, none more loyal than Betsy Calhoun, who continues to host an annual TechSavvy Girls summer camp each year in the North East Kingdom.

Today I wonder how TechSavvy Girls could evolve if I gave the topic of empowering girls with technology a daily focus and some space in my life to document that focus for 365 days.   So inspired by the fact that Steve gives attention to a cause that he has chosen to focus on each day, in 2015,  I’m going to try to carve out some space in my life for a  cause “empowering girls with technology”  that has been important to me for many many years.  Some days it might be just a little bit of reading and sharing on the topic; some days it might be planning an event;  some days it might be taking on a new personal challenge as a model to girls that they “too” can do this.  But surely 365 days of focus can’t help but contribute to bridging the gap that exist relating to gender in our high tech world.

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