Record-breaking turnout for AWS Girls’ Tech Day in Prince William County

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More than 600 middle school girls from across the region gathered at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Prince William County Saturday for the fifth annual AWS Girls’ Tech Day.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Girls’ Tech Day was developed to promote and encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, a combination of fields commonly referred to as STEAM, according to a news release. The free, half-day educational event involved panel discussions and STEAM-related interactive activities.

This year’s Girls’ Tech Day at the Hylton Performing Arts Center broke attendance records.

Highlights included: Students learning to play tic-tac-toe using their drone piloting skills, learning how to code robots so they can pick up and deliver packages in a simulated disaster zone and learning about the latest cloud technologies that help first responders, humanitarian agencies and impacted communities during natural disasters.

“By the time these girls reach adulthood, the technologies we are familiar with today will likely have evolved dramatically,” Diya Wynn, senior practice manager for Responsible AI with AWS, said in the release. “It is critical we help inspire and educate young women – as well as learners of diverse backgrounds – so they have the opportunity to participate in this evolution, and in doing so not only give them the power to help shape tech but also their own futures.”

Girls’ Tech Day is part of a collection of programs developed by AWS InCommunities to help create the next generation of creative thinkers and future builders in the communities where it has a physical presence.

In 2019 Prince William County opened the world’s first AWS Think Big Space, a lab that provides students, educators and communities with technical education and cloud computing training.

AWS has funded 60 spaces globally, including at Wakefield High School in Arlington County and J.L Simpson Middle School in Loudoun County.

“Events like Girls’ Tech Day are important because they give girls a hands-on experience with technology and a chance to learn how a variety of women have launched a wide array of careers in technology fields,” Maggie Carter, director of AWS social responsibility and impact, said in the release. “We believe we need to continue motivating and encouraging girls to explore careers in tech – including the many ways it can positively impact our world.”

AWS Girls’ Tech Day has reached nearly 14,000 girls and young women across 30 countries, the release states.

Following the Virginia Girls’ Tech Day, additional events will take place in Oregon, Ohio, California and other communities around the world.

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