Mira-Mini | Indy Women in Tech (IWiT): Community Impact Award (Group/Organization)
Gerry Dick: Well, the Community Impact Award winner for a group or organization this year, Indie Women in Tech, and I'm pleased to be joined backstage at the Mirror Awards by Ariel Crawley. She's the Director of Community Engagement at Indie Women in Tech. Ariel, congratulations. Big night, and really what has been a big five years for the organization.
Ariel Crawley: Yeah, thank you. We're so excited. We've been in the community for five years and just really excited to be acknowledged tonight by TechPoint.
Gerry Dick: I think Indie Women and Tech, the name kind of says it all, but talk about really the mission and what the organization is all about.
Ariel Crawley: Sure. So our mission is to help open the pipeline and introduce girls to STEM careers within Indiana and then, as that progresses, and they go throughout their education, hopefully that fuels them to study STEM in college and stay here in Indiana and join the Indiana workforce. And then we also work with women who want to pivot into tech, or transition into tech, and help them with resources such as scholarships, tuition, childcare assistance, emergency funds, so that they can complete that journey and start on the tech workforce themselves.
Gerry Dick: I know the impact over these five years has been substantial. Give us an idea of the impact that Indie Women in Tech has had really on women and girls in technology.
Ariel Crawley: So, between our youth events, such as Tea, Pathways, and Ignite Your Superpower, we've reached over 7, 000 girls. So that's 7, 000 elementary, middle, and high school. And then for our adult programs through Ivy Tech in 1150 Academy, we've reached over 200 women. So we're really excited about the impact. And then, of course, we've had our staple events such as the IWIT LPGA championship that has been across the state, our IWIT Summit. So we're really excited about all that we've been able to do, help more women enter the tech workforce here in Indy.
Gerry Dick: Ignite your superpower?
Ariel Crawley: Yes.
Gerry Dick: Right. Talk about that event because I think that's a great example of kind of innovative and unique ways to connect, in particular with young girls.
Ariel Crawley: So our IYS, ignite your superpower, is for middle school girls for them to be introduced to STEM through hands- on activities. And we ask for different sponsorships and different organizations to join us and help teach the girls what does the engineer do for a day, what does the computer scientist really do? And then also we have that event at a college campus. So the girls are able to see what is a college campus really like, what is a chemistry lab really like? And the number one question we get, where would I eat? Where would I sleep? So they really get that introduction into college life and see themselves there in the future.
Gerry Dick: How important is it to reach girls at a young age, at really those early years?
Ariel Crawley: Very important. What they see is what they'll be. So we're really happy to start that pipeline early, give them illustrations of what they can be from real women that are actually in those careers. And then it's great to see them come back and say, thank you, I attended IYS and now I'm studying STEM at Purdue or IU. So it's a great circle moment.
Gerry Dick: And I assume that now you're five years old, and after five years, you're really beginning to see that impact on the pipeline.
Ariel Crawley: Yes, we've actually seen a lot of ladies that we've helped get through our academic partners here today working at some of the organizations that are nominated. So it's great to see the youth grow up and come through, but it's also a great to see the women who pivoted are now here at Mirror Award nominated organizations.
Gerry Dick: Indie Women and Tech, the Community Impact Award winner for a group or organization. Ariel Crawley, really great to see you. Congratulations and best of luck going forward.
Ariel Crawley: Thank you.
IWiT is a non-profit organization created to address the gender gap in the tech workforce. Since 2017, in addition to popular programs that encourage girls to stick with science and math studies, the organization has provided scholarships, mentorship, professional development and wraparound services that have enabled more than 300 women to step successfully into tech careers where many of them have financial freedom for the first time. On average, the women participating in IWiT pathways see a 68% increase in their personal income and 89% graduate on time and with zero debt.