Anne-Marie Imafidon wants to help K-12 educators make STEM HERstory

'Ensuring that K-12 can see tech in all its creative, altruistic and diverse glory is paramount for inspiring folks to build tech skills,' FETC speaker says.

Anne-Marie Imafidon has a clear idea about how mentors and a growth mindset will inspire more female students to become the STEM leaders of the future. Imafidon, a British computing prodigy, is the founder of the Stemettes, a 10-year-old social initiative dedicated to motivating and preparing girls to take their rightful places at the top of a tech industry that, she hopes, will become far more inclusive going forward.

The driving force behind her solution for shifting social norms is empowering girls to shape their own relationships with technology by infusing STEM with the healthy dose of creativity that comes with a STEAM approach, says Imafidon, who will deliver the closing keynote, “The Tech Landscape And Cultivating Leaders Of The Future,” at the 2023 Future of Education Technology® Conference in New Orleans Jan. 23-26.

Greater inclusivity in a tech-driven world should also chip away at the persistent bias in data collection and algorithms that drive major decisions in society and industry, Imafidon adds.

Imafidon was the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing when she was 11 years old and received her master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford at age 20. Since then, she has held positions at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank and is now a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland and a member of the Council of Research England. Her latest book is She’s in CTRL, a guidebook to help women take back tech.

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Imafidon answered a few questions from District Administration ahead of her FETC keynote:

1. What role do K-12 schools have to play in solving the tech skill shortage?

“K-12 schools have a very important role. For most people, their formative STEM/STEAM experiences are at school—many don’t have science capital provided in home environments. So ensuring that K-12 can see tech in all its creative, altruistic and diverse glory is paramount for inspiring folks to build tech skills.”

2. How can schools make tech more inclusive for girls and students from other underrepresented groups?

“Schools must focus on creativity, altruism and diversity in tech in order to make the space more inclusive. They also need to embrace equitable practices in teaching and engagement so underrepresented groups are clear that they have value in technical conversations.”

3. How do educators get these students engaged in tech and STEM?

“Start with fun! Bring in creativity and problem-solving. Don’t be prescriptive about the results of experimentation. Use the IoE equity compass to ensure you are starting from the interests and assets of students when engaging them with STEM and tech.”

4. How will inclusion impact our tech-driven world?

“It will ensure that tech is solving more problems than it creates. I explore the possibilities in my new book, She’s in CTRL.”

5. What else can attendees expect to hear about in your keynote speech?

Practical tips and mindsets to take back for themselves as well as their classrooms.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is the managing editor of District Administration and a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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