Guest post written by Karen Winkler, Technovation[MN] Mentor Board Chair

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’-Mahatma Gandhi

This has got to be one of the most referenced quotes, especially when referring to personal behavior. Want more people to be nice; start acting nicer. Want your kids to eat more vegetables; start eating salads at dinner with your family. If you want to see more women entering careers in Technology; ………..????

If you have ever wondered how you could help the progress of women in STEM careers, I would like you to consider volunteering with this unique non-profit group: TechnovationMN.

I was introduced to TechnovationMN a few years ago, when the company I work for held a meet-and-greet for TechnovationMN and they brought along one of their student coding teams. This was my first introduction to this group of women and the young entrepreneurs they mentor. Technovation Challenge is a global organization that ‘invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.’

Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year they invite girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenge them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by their curriculum.

I chose to support this organization as a board member and a student mentor. As we grow and prepare for the next Technovation season, I would like to encourage you to investigate Technovation as a volunteer opportunity this year.

While there are different volunteer positions available, the greatest need at Technovation[MN] is for volunteer mentors. Mentors act as role models, sounding boards, and help with time management to encourage teams as they are guided through the curriculum. The time commitment is about 2+ hours per week for 12 weeks from January through April or about 25-50 hours total. .

To apply for a mentor position follow the link to http://technovationmn.org/causes/volunteers-needed/.  Click either the ‘mentor signup for 2017’ link in the middle of the page or the green button in the upper right area; both will take you to the Technovation Challenge Mentor Signup page.

Engineers are the second largest STEM occupational group, but only 1 in 7 engineers is female. — US Department of Commerce