The Power of I Am: AT&T Supports Women in STEM

Some of the world’s finest inventions and innovations derive from women in STEM – Dr. Shirley Jackson, whose work at Bell Laboratories led to the creation of fiber optic cables and caller ID; Hedy Lamarr, actress and developer of the precursor to wireless communication; and Dr. Erna Hoover, who pioneered telephony switching computer programming. The drive to create and adapt has inspired many products and moved technology forward for thousands of AT&T female employees, from the very beginning of our history. This sense of wonderment at what can be envisioned and brought to life is at the heart of the volunteer and skills building work AT&T does for young girls, as well as in the education innovation  found in our AT&T Aspire Accelerator.

Since 2012, AT&T has invested in the training and education of thousands of students across the United States through Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit with the mission to close the gender gap in computer science and technology. From corporate hosted summer immersion programs to having AT&T women leaders as guest speakers, the company invested time and support into the young women as they learn coding and other computer science skills.

In addition to Girls Who Code, AT&T has relationships centered on STEM education with Black Girls Code and the Girl Scouts USA. As part of AT&T’s national philanthropic funding of with Girl Scouts USA, we are supporting Virtual Family STEM nights for eight councils across the U.S. from February to April. These online events allow girls ages 5 to 11 (and their families) to learn about STEM and complete STEM activities. AT&T employees have been signing up to mentor girls during these workshops, giving the Scouts exposure to the men and women who work in STEM every day. Black Girls Code, an organization with a vision to increase the number of women in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become STEM innovators, has welcomed AT&T mentors and volunteers for several years.

For women who dream big and launch startups to innovate in the education space and beyond, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator provides financial support and access to experts who can help them grow their business. More than 70 percent of the 40-plus companies that participated in the Accelerator were led by women. Among those are alumni Michelle Brown of CommonLit, whose online platform is dedicated to improving adolescent literacy, and Edna Martinson, co-founder of Boddle, a gamified educational math platform.

With this month’s theme of “Power of I Am…”, it is critical that we continue to cultivate a culture of innovation for girls and women in our community so that they can be empowered by their education to make a positive impact on society. The next inventor and innovator could come through organizations like Girls Scouts USA, Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code, and AT&T will continue to stoke the fires of imagination for girls interested in STEM as a hobby or career.

In this week’s “Power of I Am..” video series, some of AT&T’s biggest thinkers and innovators share their words of encouragement for those aspiring to enter the world of STEM.