Digital Divas encourages girls to pursue tech careers

On April 25, the Apparels, Textiles and Merchandising department hosted their third annual Digital Divas event called “Fast, Fun Fashion, Very CAD!”

Digital Divas aims to educate and encourage high school girls to pursue technology-based careers through hosting school-wide conferences.

Julie Becker, Director of Textiles, Research and Training Institute and Assistant Professor for the ATM program, shared her knowledge of computer-assisted design (CAD) with the high school students.

Becker has a set goal to get more women involved in technology careers.

The business of fashion is huge and has a stereotype of consisting of only shopping, product development and merchandising. What people don’t know is that it involves a lot of technology.

“A lot of people don’t realize patterns can be developed using technology,” Becker said, an experienced CAD designer herself who has three design patents.

To give the students a glimpse at how fashion and technology intertwine, Becker and her volunteers helped the girls design a miniature garment pattern on the computer. After creating the design, the group of divas would then print it out and be able to marvel at their work.

Many people donated their time to helping out at “Fast, Fun Fashion, Very CAD!” including Kelly Dorsey, an ATM graduating senior. Dorsey not only volunteered herself, but also helped organize other students to volunteer for the event.

“I did it last year and it was so fun,” Dorsey said. “I like working with the youth.”

Dorsey also stated admiration for her teacher as a deciding factor in wanting to help.

“I’m very passionate about the fashion industry in general, and Julie Becker is amazing,” she said.

In total, Dorsey helped to recruit 27 volunteers. The volunteers ranged from freshmen to graduate students all taking on varying tasks from assisting the students in decorating their paper CAD-designed pieces to helping with the computers.

Another volunteer, ATM graduate student Lauren Cadorin, expressed her eagerness to help the high school students to consider an ATM career.

“I’m passionate about helping and sharing knowledge of fashion industry with younger girls,” Cadorin said.

With many departments present at Digital Divas, including aviation engineering, computer science, geospatial technology, and more, ATM ranks high in popularity. Last year’s Digital Divas attracted close to 300 attendees, and ATM’s 40 person breakout session slots were sold out within 30 minutes at the morning sign-up.

For more information on Digital Divas, head over to their website

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