Students from Kansas City area middle schools participated in "Girls in Tech," an initiative of the KC STEM Alliance.

As part of Computer Science Education Week in December, the Bank hosted 90 middle school students for “Girls in Tech,” an annual event aimed at inspiring girls by introducing them to coding and other career paths in technology.

Women from information technology areas of the Kansas City Fed served as mentors for the event. In addition to guiding the students through hands-on coding puzzles as introductions to computer programming, the employees conducted a panel discussion and described their professional experiences.

The Kansas City Fed, with nearly half of its 2,100 employees in information technology roles, is committed to supporting STEM education programs and encouraging girls across the Tenth District to pursue STEM careers.

“It’s exciting to give the opportunity to these girls to come here to talk about what it is like in their environment and for them to hear about our environment,” said Emily Clothier, assistant vice president in Financial Services at the Bank.

Girls in Tech is an initiative of the KC STEM Alliance, which works to connect science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education efforts with workforce initiatives across the community. It is especially important to encourage girls to explore STEM, organizers said.

According to the National Center for Women in Technology, women hold 57 percent of all professional occupations in United States but only 26 percent of computing occupations and only 13 percent of chief technology officer roles.

“What was so special was the opportunity for the students to engage with women mentors and for the girls to see what the future can look like for them,” said Martha McCabe, executive director of the KC STEM Alliance. “The girls asked great questions, and the panelists helped them understand what it's like being a woman in a STEM career and the importance of finding other women who can support them.”

Learn more about technology roles and other career opportunities at the Kansas City Fed.