WiTT kits aimed at drawing girls and young women into trades and technology

Published in Momentum Fall 2021

Though the activities may be fun, a new series of STEAM kits from Women in Technology and Trades have a message behind them: girls and women have a place in STEAM fields.

The idea is to provide easy, achievable tasks for students primarily in high school. The WiTT kit provides instructions through various steps ranging through different areas of STEAM which the students haven’t necessarily been exposed to through their curriculum and course selection.

“People might not even realize it, but they are learning to code or doing something mechanical with their hands while they are doing the activities in the kit,” said Karla Hall, an instructor in Mohawk’s Mechanical Engineering program and a member of the WiTT team.

“The goal is to expose the students to different areas they might not otherwise seek out and to show them they can accomplish anything.”

The kit activities include programming a smartwatch, lock-picking, discovering how MRNA vaccines work, measuring voltage of fruits and vegetables, and building a brush motor to name only a few.

What makes the WiTT kits powerful, says Elizabeth Fabbroni Martin, Associate Dean of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, is that the activities and associated learning materials, including worksheets, slides and videos, have been developed by women studying in Mohawk’s trades and technology programs.

The women are featured in the videos to build their personal confidence and help other young women understand that any career is possible for them, says Martin.

“The women in our programs are empowered by serving as mentors.”

The pandemic forced a pivot in rolling out the kits. They are available online on WiTT’s website and Martin expects to have an awareness-raising kickoff event sometime in the future.

Hall wishes there had been something like this initiative when she was figuring out her path but she’s happy it will be in place for her young daughter.

“My passion is encouraging more women into trades and tech fields.”

To learn more about Women in Technology & Trades at Mohawk College visit here

Photo caption: Karla Hall P.Eng, Instructor in the School of Engineering Technology and a member of the WiTT Team