MAGIC News from 2017

December 2017: MAGIC Begins a New Session in Los Angeles

MAGIC kicked off another session with Yeshiva of Los Angeles Girls' High School (YULA) with five amazing girls, with interests ranging from coding and programming to genetics and oncology research. We have matched the mentees, grades ten through twelve, with five outstanding mentors from around the country. One-to-one introductory sessions are already under way, with initial discussions on some exciting projects.

YULA continues to be a great partner, and we look forward to another MAGICal year with our five mentees!

November 2017: MAGIC Kicks Off in Virginia for the First Time!

MAGIC is partnering with the Deep Run High School in Richmond to bring MAGIC mentoring to Virginia for the first time this year. Two mentees have been selected into the program, one from the ninth grade, and the other from the tenth grade. One of the mentees will have face to face mentoring with her local mentor, and the other will be remotely mentored by her mentor located in Chicago.

MAGIC also kicked off this month for five mentees from outside of MAGIC's partner schools, who applied for MAGIC mentoring via our website. The applicants from non-partner schools came from both the US and Canada, and the five selected into the program are from the states of California, Ohio, Massachusetts and South Carolina.

Wishing each of these mentees a MAGICal year with their mentors!

October-November 2017: West Coast MAGIC Mentoring Sessions Start

MAGIC mentoring sessions were kicked off at two of our partner schools:

  • Our first partner school, The Girls' Middle School (GMS)
    • GMS was the pilot partner school for MAGIC, and this mentoring session marks the beginning of the tenth year of this partnership!
    • The kickoff event was held on Monday, October 30th., at the GMS campus.
    • Five mentees have been matched with mentors. Three of these mentees are from the sixth grade, one from the seventh grade, and another from the eighth grade.
    • The mentees are interested in doing projects in areas ranging from building websites to 3D animation to Artificial Intelligence to Modeling and Architecture!
  • A new partner, The Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD)
    • The MAGIC program at MUSD includes both of the middle schools in MUSD, the Rancho Milpitas Middle School and the Thomas Russell Middle School.
    • The kickoff event was held on Thursday, November 2nd., at the Russell campus.
    • Six mentees have been matched with mentors. One of the mentees is from the sixth grade, three are from the seventh grade, and two from the eighth grade. The STEM topics of interest range over a variety of areas, including ocean/marine biology, chemical engineering, robotics, and technology for music!

Here's wishing each of the mentees a magical journey in the year ahead!

October 2017: MAGIC in New York

MAGIC is excited to expand to the state of New York! The first MAGIC mentoring session for 2017-18 kicked off on October 19th. with a new partner school, The Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls (SKA) in Long Island, New York. Four girls from ninth to twelfth grades were selected for this inaugural MAGIC session at SKA. Three of them have been matched with remote mentors, and one with a local mentor.

September/October 2017: MAGIC Summer Sessions Conclude!

Summer sessions of MAGIC, one on the east coast and the other on the west coast, culminated with the mentees' final presentation events over the past few weeks. Both these sessions were done with pilot partners of MAGIC. Here is additional information about these sessions, with links to the final presentation slides:

  • Menlo School, Atherton, California
    • Final presentation held on September 12th.
    • Mentees (mentors): Audrey H (Sunanda S), Maya J-K (Stephanie C), Mitsuka K (Hosanna F), Charlotte A (Jaelle S), Bella S (Melissa FM), Sarah F (Tammy D)
    • Menlo contact: Nina A
    • MAGIC coordinator: Ira P
    • Presentation slide deck

  • Leap for Education, Salem, Massachusetts
    • Final presentation held on October 10th.
    • Mentees (mentors): Alexa C (Yashaswini K), Georgia M (Neetu J)
    • Leap4Ed contact: Kayla D
    • MAGIC coordinator: Kim F
    • Presentation slide deck

A huge congratulations to all the eight mentee-mentor pairs for their hard work and dedication that resulted in superb projects! Special thanks to the school contacts and MAGIC coordinators for keeping the sessions on track for the shorter summer mentoring sessions.

September 2017: MAGIC's Tanzanian Partner BigSiS Kicks Off

MAGIC's Tanzanian partner BigSiS kicked off its program on the 7th. of September by conducting mentor and mentee training sessions, followed by a "Meet Your Mentor" session. It was a three hours long event, where mentees were trained in the first hour, and then taken to a computer lab for an hour of exploring and hands-on practice while mentor training continued. After mentor training, mentees were brought in to meet their mentors, and engage in a brief discussion to get to know each other. Some photos from this event are available here.

The session had been planned for twelve mentees and nine mentors; seven mentees and six mentors were in attendance on that day. Informal training sessions for the three mentors who could not attend on the first day were held on the 14th. of September, and for three more mentees, on Friday the 22nd. of September.

The remaining two mentees are attending a leadership academy in South Africa, and will be mentored remotely. A mentor from MAGIC will be doing the remote mentoring. All pairs have been matched, and BigSiS looks forward to a successful session.

September 2017: MAGIC Featured on "For The Record"

MAGIC was recently featured on "For The Record", a national public affairs radio show on Family Radio. MAGIC board member Jazmine Jung interviewed with Jennifer Burkhiser, and this interview was aired several times on Saturday, Sept 9th, 2017. Jazmine talked with Jennifer about many topics related to MAGIC and girls in STEM, including how MAGIC was started, the need for women in STEM, what services MAGIC provides for middle and high school girls, the types of projects MAGIC mentees do, how volunteers can get involved, and several other topics. Here's a link to that interview.

August 2017: MAGIC Invited to Empowerment 2020

MAGIC was invited to host a booth at, and bring a group of mentees and mentors to, the Empowerment 2020 conference on August 26th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The conference was hosted by Rosie Rios, former Treasurer of the United States, to celebrate Equality Day, the anniversary date of the certification of the 19th Amendment that gave women in the US the right to vote.

The conference exhibits featured exciting demonstrations by Google, NASA, Pixar and YouTube. The MAGIC contingent had a great time attending the various keynotes and panel sessions; meeting astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle at the NASA exhibit was an added bonus!

July 2017: MAGIC Summer Session Kicks Off

MAGIC has two pilot partners this summer, one on the west coast and the other on the east coast!

Six middle and high schooler mentees from the Menlo School in Atherton, CA, are participating in the MAGIC summer mentoring session. Three of the girls are rising eighth graders and the other three are rising tenth graders.

Our second pilot partner this summer is the Leap for Education (Leap4Ed) organization in Salem, MA. Two Leap4Ed girls are mentees with MAGIC this summer; one is a rising eighth grader and the second is a rising ninth grader. Both the girls are graduates of the Girls Who Code program at Leap4Ed.

The summer mentoring session will last ten to twelve weeks, and will culminate with the mentees doing a final presentation of their projects.

June 2017: Ninth MAGIC Session Concludes!

The last set of mentees from the 2016-2017 MAGIC session presented their projects in a final presentation event held at Google Headquarters on June 9th, 2017. These mentees included those from the East Coast (MA, NY) as well as from the West Coast (CA), and consisted of high school girls from the MAGIC partner school Oak Grove in San Jose, as well as middle and high school girls from non-partner schools.

The event started with a mentor-mentee lunch at one of Google's famous cafes, and was followed by a tour of the Google campus and visitor center. The day culminated with the final presentation and demonstration event, where each mentee then made a short presentation of her MAGICal experience and her project, and then gave a demonstration of her project. The audience for this event included family members of the presenters, peer mentees, mentors, teachers, school administrators, MAGIC supporters, and members of the MAGIC core team.

We are grateful to Google for sponsoring this event!

Many thanks to Ian Gulliver (MAGIC Advisory Board member) for video-recording the presentations as well as mentee interviews during the demo sessions, and to MAGIC mentor Hosanna Fuller for conducting the mentee interviews. Video snippets of the mentee presentations and interviews for this and all other MAGIC final presentation events of 2016-2017 will be posted once they are available, on our website as well as on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Here's the list of mentees (with the corresponding mentor names in parentheses) who presented, together with a link to the presentation slide deck:

  • Mentees (mentors): Charlize A (Deepa M), Raaga P (Sandra H), Emily T (Lakshmi KP), Lauren L (Becky B), Shreya S (Jen T and Uma M), Siya K (Venmathi G), Amelia R (Hema H), Ananya P (Huimee S), Cindy G (Joan C), Najma A (Anurupa R)
  • Presentation slide deck
  • Coordinators: Jazmine Jung (Oak Grove), Kim Fujikawa (LA schools), Ira Pramanick (All others)

A huge congratulations to all the mentee-mentor pairs as well as the coordinators for an outstanding job!

May 2017: MAGIC Partners with the Open University of Tanzania

MAGIC is partnering with the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) to run its STEM mentoring program under the name BIG SISTER IN STEM (BigSiS) in Tanzania. As part of the program activities, OUT facilitated the "2017 Girls in ICT Day", where Tanzanian government officials and several women role models were involved. The Tanzanian government representative, e-Government Agency CEO Dr. Jabiri Bakari, presented the key education statistics that show the involvement of women in different educational levels. He also informed the audience of the shortage of women in the STEM workforce. Women in STEM role models Dr. Magreth Mushi and Dr. Carina Wangwe related their experiences in navigating the challenges faced by women in STEM careers. After the talks, the girls were involved in hands-on practice in the computer lab to explore different areas in STEM. The main activities in the lab involved website design and development, video production, games development, and apps development. Thereafter, the girls and facilitators were taken on a tour of one of the leading banks in Tanzania, NMB, where they were met with women from the IT department. This tour was followed by another tour, of the University of Dar es Salaam Computing Center (UCC), where they visited the server room and talked to women working in STEM fields. It was indeed a wonderful day!

May 2017: Ninth MAGIC Sessions Conclude at Various Locations

Several of our partner schools hosted final presentation events for their MAGIC mentee students during the month of May. Each of the mentees presented their work to an audience of peer mentees, mentors, teachers, school administrators, and members of the MAGIC core team. These events marked the conclusion of the 2016-17 MAGIC mentoring sessions at these schools.

Many thanks to Ian Gulliver (MAGIC Advisory Board member) for video-recording all the final presentation events, and to MAGIC mentor Shami Ahuja, MAGIC Eastside contact Judy Wong-Chen, MAGIC Ann Richards contact Kristina Read, for conducting the mentee interviews.

Following is the list of the final presentations together with the names of the mentees (the corresponding mentor names in parentheses). Links to the presentation slide decks are also provided. We are grateful to the MAGIC coordinators at these schools.

A huge congratulations to all the mentees for their hard work and wonderful projects, and to all the mentors for guiding their mentees as they explored the magic of STEM and their dedication to the cause!

April 2017: MAGIC Participates in Roundtable Hosted by Nancy Pelosi's Office

MAGIC was honored to be invited to a roundtable discussion on the topic of girls in STEM, hosted by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's office on Friday, April 7. MAGIC was asked to share issues and concerns about advancing girls in STEM. We discussed broadband access for all, and increasing resources within schools to help support girls in the program.

Leader Pelosi's D.C. representatives provided updates on policy issues that impact our programs. Other STEM-related organizations present included Girls in Tech, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and TechWomen.

Ira Pramanick and Michelle Garcia represented MAGIC at this event.

March 2017: MAGIC Mentee Wins Second Place at Teen Entrepreneur Challenge

Congratulations to Joon Luther, a MAGIC mentee from the 2015-2016 session, who recently won second place in the Santa Cruz Teen Entrepreneur Challenge , together with her friend Sophia! Here’s what Joon had to say about her project:

“Our vision was to create a website where someone could order a lunch for themselves through a delivery company, and also order a lunch for a child in need. We called our website 'Share-A-Lunch', then coded it completely from scratch using HTML and CSS. After we finished our project, we sought help from mentors as to how we could improve our website and our project as a whole."

Joon's MAGIC mentor was Neetu Jain.

January 2017: MAGIC Expands to Austin, Texas

MAGIC kicked off a pilot mentoring session on January 18th in Texas. It is partnering with the Ann Richards School in Austin, Texas. This pilot mentoring session will be for the spring of 2017, and consists of 10 mentor-mentee pairs. The mentees are all middle schoolers: five eighth graders, four seventh graders and a sixth grader. Two out of the ten mentors for the Ann Richards mentees are located in Austin, thus offering face to face mentoring sessions. The remaining eight mentors are located outside Texas, and will be conducting remote mentoring sessions with their mentees using Google hangouts and/or Skype.

The mentees, school personnel, three of the mentors, and the MAGIC core team attended the event which was hosted at the Google offices in downtown Austin. Thank you to Google for sponsoring this event!