A girl can wield a mean soldering iron

When I was around 10 and 11 I was very into soldering irons, little electronic bits and pieces, and anything that made me feel nerdy and mad-scientist-y. I loved the smoky metal-hot smell of the solder and how scary it was… and making things that worked and were “real”. At first I just made different kinds of switches and circuits with tiny lightbulbs, and then advanced to collecting hydrogen in a test tube and lighting it on fire to make it pop. EXCITING! The coolest thing I ever learned about was electroplating. I copper plated every small metal object in our house, adding all sorts of weird stuff to the copper sulfate solution to see what effect it would have; my sister’s dollhouse toaster came out really well when I made a strong solution using tons of ketchup. And hello, what could be cooler than safety goggles and a voltmeter?

I had a point in here somewhere.

Erica Rios of Xicanista, a former instructor for Techbridge, passed on this job call for me to post:

Techbridge Program Manager

Want to make a difference in a girl’s future? Help change girls’
images of and experiences with technology and have an opportunity to work with a dynamic team of educators. Techbridge is an innovative program to inspire girls in technology, science and engineering. The program is hosted after school at elementary, middle, and high schools in Oakland, San Lorenzo, and at the California School for the Blind in Fremont. In these after-school programs, girls work on a variety of projects such as making solar LEGO cars, soldering, digital photography, and building robots. The girls also participate in field trips and meet with role models.

Under the supervision of the Program Director, the Techbridge Program Manager is responsible for supporting and supervising staff, coordinating and implementing our after-school programs, developing and piloting curricula, and leading professional development workshops for teachers, role models, and professional audiences. We are looking for an experienced and dynamic individual who has the ability to supervise a team of instructors, work with the Techbridge project director, and oversee the development of training and resources to teachers, professionals and partners.

It sounds like a GREAT job getting to be a nerd role model for techy girls. Write to techbridge@chabotspace.org if you’re interested in the job!

Now, part of my point was that I was extremely into the soldering and circuits and experiments, but I reached a point very quickly where I had nowhere further to go with it, and no where to go for information or leadership. Books from the library only went so far, and then information stopped. How to take it further? So — if you DO get involved with a program like this, or you know a young nerdlet, please try to find them mentors and books and extra information, to keep their interest going and feed their love of science and tech.

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