One of our goals is to inspire and educate more people, with a special focus on increasing technical literacy within our communities — capabilities that are critical for the success of our digital society. In partnership with our clients, community organizations and local schools, our global STEM@CGI program aims to train and mentor school-age to adult participants about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related careers. Many of our programs support people underrepresented in technology fields, including females, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged.
In the U.S., the I.T. Girl Challenge is one of our STEM@CGI initiatives. Established in 2020 at our Innovation Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is an annual mobile app mentorship program for high school girls. It strives to provide experiences that inspire students to explore a future in the digital workforce.
Promoting teamwork and innovation
Small teams of 2-4 girls from partner organizations team up with our mentors to develop a smartphone app. They use Thunkable, an application platform that enables them to create mobile apps using drag-and-drop functionality instead of raw programming codes. The team with the most innovative, applicable and creative mobile app design receives a one-time $20,000 college scholarship shared among the team.
In 2020, we partnered with Best of the Batch Foundation, New Outlook Academy and Pittsburgh Public Schools. Brashear High School students won the competition with the Brashear News 4 You app, which updates students and faculty about school news and events.
Adapting to ensure learning continuity
The pandemic changed the way students interact with our STEM events. We adapted the I.T. Girl Challenge to the restrictions by providing participants with laptops and Internet access. This enabled the teams to collaborate remotely with 20 CGI mentors over 12 weeks to complete the challenge.
In 2021, five teams from Best of the Batch Foundation, New Outlook Academy, Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Public Schools competed. Students from the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania won the competition for their app, GradeUp, which allows students to discuss schoolwork and create better study habits.