“When I was a girl, learning to type happened on typewriters; my mom’s portable computer weighed 40 pounds and was the size of a large suitcase and cell phones came in shoulder bags. Today the compute power available in a cell phone far outpaces what a standard computer could do 30 years ago. Lives are saved on laptops, world powers meet over Skype and the world revolves around the internet. Although I consider myself to be tech savvy, one of the many things I’ve learned over the past thirty years is that the world changes faster than I could ever dream of keeping up with.
I have an eleven year old daughter. I want my daughter to be equipped to succeed in this fast-paced world and I need help in getting her there. That’s why I find programs like the Girls of Promise program from the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas so important. I need a partner in preparing my daughter to succeed in a society where Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers abound and run the business and lives of the world. I want to be able to surround my daughter with opportunities and mentors that can guide my daughter with me through educational decisions that she makes now that I know will affect her career choices. I want her to grow up knowing that she can be anything she wants to be, including something that may be in an area dominated by males today.
The Girls of Promise program provides all of that and more. Girls are introduced to women with successful careers in all areas of STEM. They learn about what it takes to get into a STEM career; about how math and science are so important to focus on in high school and about how important it is to reach farther and get involved with technology and engineering at a young age. And most important, girls are introduced to other girls from around the state who share similar interests. They develop a support system from this experience that they can rely on through high school and college. And they start making decisions that can affect the rest of their lives and the careers that they choose.
My goal is to not only have my child go to Girls of Promise, but to support the Girls of Promise initiative so that other girls, like my daughter, have the opportunity to learn about opportunities that will have a positive influence over the rest of their lives. When girls succeed, women succeed and when women succeed, Arkansas is a better place!”
–Cici Conger Portie, WFA Board Member
Anna Beth Gorman is the executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.