PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — You're never too young to start learning about cyber-security. It's the latest class introduced to elementary and middle school girls through the new program, Full STEAM Ahead, hosted by Girls Inc of Pinellas.
"STEAM itself stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics," said executive director Darla Otey. "We are engaging with organizations throughout the Tampa Bay region to encourage our girls to move forward in careers that are typically male-focused."
The 10-week program runs after school every day until December 18. One particular week of classes was hosted by Rachael Rovegno, with Tech Data Corporation out of Clearwater.
"The whole purpose of this program is for girls to see themselves in the women who are sharing with them, so every partner is a woman," said Otey.
"Well, I can tell you I did not think I'd be doing technology when I was their age. I sat in those seats, so I think it's really important," said Rovegno.
She said the key is simply relating to the girls. In one exercise, they draw superheroes that were, in essence, a firewall protecting their devices and personal information.
"I found out there is a lot of solutions to cyberbullying and people trying to hack into your devices," said 11-year-old Alexis Rosado.
However, these girls are also learning that the real lesson is if you can see it, you can be it. Dream big.
"I don't believe in just boy's jobs, or just men's jobs, because sometimes I believe girls can do whatever boys can do or whatever men can do," said 10-year-old Kristina Williams.
Full STEAM Ahead is open to every girl in Pinellas County, ages 5-18. The after school classes cost $65 per week. For more information, go to Girl Inc.'s website or call 727-544-6230.