We had so much fun working with Geek Girls Carrots this Maker Party season as they planned and hosted their first Maker Party. Geek girls Carrots (GCS) is a global organization that creates community for women interested in technology by hosting meetings, meet-ups and workshops in cities all over the world. This year they a hugely successful Maker Party event in Seattle and we had a chance to catch-up with COO Kamila Stephniowska to learn more.
What is your organization and what do you do?
Geek Girls Carrots (GGC) is a global organization focused on connecting, learning and inspiring women in Tech and IT. We create community by organizing meeting, workshops, hackathons and any other events that gather people to share their knowledge and experience.
We bring together female admins, analysts, application architects, developers, graphic designers, IT managers, programmers, social media specialists, system architects, women with start-up ideas, computer science students and many more.
What events did you host or run during Maker Party?
Geek Girls Carrots Maker Party in Seattle was held at the Seattle Public Central Library, one of our main collaborators together with the Pacific Science Center. At the Maker Party we had various collaborators who held activities for people of all ages from making robots, binary bracelets, buttons to learning programming languages and hearing inspiring lighting talks.
Why did you choose to get involved with Maker Party?
My colleague, Sanda Htyte, was a member of Hive Learning Network in NYC. She brought it to my attention that as organizers and mentors of programming languages and web development we should join this community of makers and host a Maker Party. When I first heard about the party, I loved the sound of it—it’s a fantastic idea to bring together people of all ages, gender, background and cultures to learn and teach each other and to create things together. For us, to be a part of this global event and raise our educational efforts was also the perfect opportunity to continue our goals of increasing diversity and encouraging girls and women to enter STEM careers globally.
Tell us what you were most excited for at the event?
We were most excited about pulling off our first ever Maker Party in Seattle! It was also absolutely awesome to build robots!!! Most of Geek Girls Carrots events are gathering around software and startups. We are actually planning on having more hardware-oriented events, such as the one on November 21st in Poznan, Poland (GGC Poznan) so it was cool to see it happening here at our Maker Party in Seattle and how well it’s been received. It was amazing to see adults and children building and programming together with RI/O Bots, Lego Mindstorms and Galileo Intel.
We were also very excited that we partnered with the Seattle Central Library and the Pacific Science Center, two very awesome organizations in Seattle who were looking for an initiative —like hosting Maker Parties, that bring and connect the community to amazing programs around the city. This was another reason why we all wanted to have a Maker Party—because we realized people are making things, but in their own silos. Maker Party gives this opportunity for connection and awareness in return inspiring more innovation and making. Needless to say, partnering with Seattle Central Library and Pacific Science Center set us off to a perfect start!
Why is it important for youth and adults to make things with technology?
One of our participants, Cristina Parides (S.P.I.N. – STEM Paths Innovation Networks) said, “I want to be part of this because this is the present. It’s not the future any more, this is the present. I just want to go to different places to find all the people who have more knowledge, who can share with me so I can know and reproduce that knowledge.” Learners and teachers are one in the same. A teacher learns as much from their student as a student gains new knowledge from their teacher.
I think that when you have children and adults learning together we have a chance to broaden our perspectives and have better insights on what’s the best way to learn tailored to the individual and the community. It’s important to be part of the changing information and knowledge landscape—to have more options, to have effective tools, to be better and support each other, so we can have more possibilities for growth, for jobs we’ll be happy with, for lifestyles we’ll be comfortable with and to have a balanced world.
Technology is all around us, it’s what connects us all today, so let’s learn to be not just educated consumers of technology, but also responsible producers. When we are all on a level playing field, the odds of disparities get slimmer and slimmer.
What is the feedback you usually get from people who attend or teach at your events?
We’re very happy when people tell us that we are an open and very friendly group. It’s our goal to provide participants a safe and friendly environment, because that’s what helps people in underrepresented groups feel welcome in technology.
We want to put out the “welcome mat” for women in technology, so when we hear this feedback, we know we’re doing something right.
We provide a participant friendly environment, contact inspiring experts and easy access to programming skills. We also hold confidence building workshops, which have made a huge impact on our members. We aim to create chances, enable connections, and inspire; the rest depends on the people who come to our meetups and workshops!
This is the type of story we want to see, that we have seen in GGC in other cities, and that we are already seeing happen in Seattle. Someone attends our meetup, gets inspired and empowered to learn, and goes home and develops herself in the way she wants. She keeps coming and learning new things, and feeling the support and encouragement of the mentors, speakers and other attendees. She becomes a speaker, leader, or mentor herself and pays it forward. And in her career, she’s able to apply her knowledge and increased confidence to get her dream job, create her own startup, or realize some other dream.
Why is it important for people and organizations to get involved in Maker Party?
Why not? Maker Party is a great journey! Seattle’s Maker Party really helped great local initiatives (SPIN, DinoHulk, TasteBuddy), maker activists, and larger institutions (Central Library, Pacific Science Center, and Intel Mashery) to connect and collaborate. This connected learning ignites great ideas and great things! This is a great opportunity to learn, teach, inspire, motivate, grow, build, network, and to form an amazing community of doers! We are so thrilled and energized from this event that we already have plans in place for more events! Next week we have “Startup It” Code Carrots meeting for anyone interested in building their own startup, develop or join an existing one, looking for knowledge, inspiration and networking! It’ll be on Wednesday September 10th @Makerhous (7 pm – 10 pm, 122 NW 36th Street Seattle, WA 98107).
How can people get in touch with your organization?
Geek Girls Carrots USA:
- Meetup Page: http://www.meetup.com/Geek-Girls-Carrots/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Geek-Girls-Carrots-USA/1443385255926545?ref=hl
Geek Girls Carrots global:
- Website: http://geekgirlscarrots.pl/hello-english/
- New website launching September 14th : www.geekgirlscarrots.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geekgirlscarrots
- Twitter: @GGCarrots