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Abstract

Research suggests that girls are at especial disadvantage in the field of informational technology and are less likely than boys to take courses or seek out careers in this area. The Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), a mentoring program at the University of Virginia that pairs at-risk middle school girls with college women for a year of mentoring, developed the YWLP HerStory project to engage middle school girls in informational technology through their development of technology projects focused on psychosocial issues of importance to them. This study reviewed an early version of the YWLP HerStory’s technology curriculum and training for mentors, the revisions made to both, and evaluated the effectiveness of the revisions with a sample of 27 eighth grade girls and their mentors. Findings indicated that participating in the revised curriculum improved girls’ engagement in technology projects, including an 83% completion rate, and modifications to mentor training improved mentor’s grasp of relevant technology and confidence in teaching it to their mentees. Notably, participating eighth grade girls reported that the technology curriculum was fun and expressed an interest in further engagement in using technology platforms to tell their stories.