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The Toyota Research Institute Gives Back To Girls Through Support And Mentorship In STEM Education

September 28, 2022
Author: Career Girls

SAN FRANCISCO (September 28, 2022) – The Toyota Research Institute’s women experts left a measurable impact on campers at the Career Girls AI, Machine Learning, and Robotics virtual camp for girls.

From August 2 - 5, Career Girls welcomed campers to the third annual AI, Machine Learning, and Robotics virtual camp, sponsored by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), marking the third consecutive year TRI supported the event for girls aged 10-15. The generosity and continued assistance from TRI has a tremendous impact on the campers and allows Career Girls to continue to offer this special camp free of charge to all girls who want to attend.

Career Girls was founded on the dream that every girl worldwide can access diverse and accomplished women role models to learn from their experiences and discover their path to empowerment. Career Girls created the virtual camp program to offer a much-needed intervention for girls to develop and retain an interest in STEM education. Women, especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women, are underrepresented in STEM careers. With over 70% of the campers identifying as BIPOC, the virtual camp provided a platform for women role models from TRI to impact the girls directly. The diverse group of over a dozen women role models from TRI generated an environment of inclusion, representation, and empowerment. The experience directly enhanced the girls’ opportunities to explore careers in critical STEM industries like AI, machine learning, and robotics.

Career Girls measured the camp's impact using the Imagination Index. This proprietary evaluation tool provides a quantitative basis for assessing the effects of their programs on girls' lives across two dimensions: career and self. After the four-day virtual camp, the Imagination Index showed a staggering 92.5% of the girls shared their likelihood of pursuing a career in STEM. In addition, campers reported an increase in their understanding of the steps they will need to take to achieve their career goals, an increase in their understanding of the education and skills needed for their favorite career, and an increase in understanding of how doing well in school now will help them achieve their dreams.

The power of engaging with TRI’s accomplished women scientists was palpable during camp. Aashvi*, age 11, said, “My favorite part of this program was when we were sharing our inspiration and passion for robotics.” Elyna*, age 11, said, “Meeting all the guests was very inspirational.” Meera*, age 13, said, “My favorite part of camp was when the panelists shared how they got to the place they are today, it really inspired me.”

The generous sponsorship from TRI granted girls free registration and access to world-class women researchers in AI, machine learning, and robotics. It also provided the girls with a new learning tool. Campers received their own robot to engage with and learn from, courtesy of TRI. The girls could program their robot to walk, use its arms, and even avoid obstacles intelligently through coding. Studies show that incorporating tangible learning tools in virtual learning environments increases student engagement. TRI also granted scholarships to four deserving campers at the end of camp. The impact of the accomplished women role models from TRI is the catalyst for Career Girls campers to thrive in STEM fields.

Career Girls® is a free, non-commercial, online platform that features more than 16,000 short video clips of over 800 diverse women role models sharing career and educational advice to inspire young girls to expand their horizons, improve their academic performance, and dream big about their futures. Launched in 1996, Career Girls is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

*Camper names have been changed to protect the identity of the minors participating in Career Girls programming.