The day began with a brief registration check in where the young ladies signed in and received a t-shirt. The day began in the gym where Coordinators/Mentors facilitated a game called snowball with the young ladies. Each young lady was asked to write something down on a piece of paper that inspired them, they would like to hear or some words of wisdom they would give to a friend.
The young ladies then balled up the inspirational note and were instructed to toss them around in the circle for several minutes. The Coordinator leading the session instructed the young ladies to stop and pick up a “snowball” near them and read it out loud. Each young lady was asked how the statement, thought or words written by someone they didn’t know made them feel. Each young lady shared what this felt like to them personally. This exercise–ice breaker quickly built unity among the young ladies—most who didn’t know each other.
They also played rock paper scissors and the loser stepped behind the person they just lost to and began to rally for them to win the next person. They played that until all the young ladies were behind the last two young ladies egging them on to victory. It was fun.
Finally, they were provided a healthy snack from SEI and then we loaded the buses to head to the theater. We viewed Hidden Figures at the Lloyd Center Regal theaters and several parents followed the bus or met us there. We also had several Alpha Kappa Alpha’s who volunteered to chaperone the event. A big thank you goes out to Pastors Nike and Herman Greene who purchased several tubs of popcorn for the young ladies to munch on during the movie.
We returned to SEI to an amazing Taco Bar luncheon. Students served themselves and sat patiently until the keynote speaker came arrived. Leigh Norris, a junior at Seattle University studying Electrical Engineering spoke about her experiences in class and about being the only woman and the only woman of color in many of her classes. She shared with the young ladies about be brave and that she wasn’t afraid to raise her hand when she had questions and to visit the professors during their office hours because she believed that’s what she was paying for. She talked about her paid summer internship where she earned $28 per hour, received a relocation bonus and how she was given the opportunity to manage 12 engineers, “and I’m only 20, and haven’t finished school yet”. Her formula for success that she shared with the young ladies was. “Keep God first, pay your tithes and raise your hand”. She left them with ‘if your vision seems obtainable then you aren’t dreaming big enough”.
The young ladies broke out into groups based on the color of dots on their name tags. There they met with the STEM practitioners to discuss the movie and to hear from the practitioners about their STEM/STEAM careers: the challenges, the triumphs, and what they’ve learned. It was awesome!
The last activity of the day was to have the students make vision boards. Every young lady was given eight prompts: I feel my strongest when…, I need to put more effort into…. my support system looks like… young ladies were asked to write one sentence at least under each topic and then they were given a list of words to place on their boards that correlated to the boards. (The young ladies didn’t get as much done on their vision boards as I’d like so I’m inviting them back together in April to add to their boards).
In conclusion, the young ladies walked away with a swag bag filled with pens, games, watches and of course dreams and possibilities. Antonio Harris, local photographer, came by and took a photo of many of the attendees and printed them out so each young lady and adult received a photo. The DoPe committee would like to express our sincere appreciation to The Portland Chapter of the Links, for believing in us and supporting us.