Microsoft’s DigiGirlz High Tech Summer Camp welcomed 40 Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) students in early August to attend coding workshops, create video games, work with artificial intelligence and tour the Microsoft campus.
This year’s camp was the first in-person camp since it went virtual during the pandemic and Federal Way schools were the only group on campus this year; other schools in nearby districts participated virtually.
“These experiences allow scholars to explore their interest in STEM careers and gain knowledge and professional connections to support their post secondary pursuits,” said FWPS Chief of Communications and Strategy Whitney Chiang.
Microsoft DigiGirlz, which began in 2000, is a global program; the High Tech summer camp hosted on Aug. 2-3 at the Redmond campus is a multi-day program of workshops featuring tech demonstrations and talks with tech and professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.
FWPS has partnered with Microsoft for five years. Because of this long-standing partnership, Microsoft reserves 25 spots for FWPS students each year.
The DigiGirlz program is open to any students who identify as girls or nonbinary in grades 8-12, and the program seeks diverse students to participate. This year’s group included students from Illahee Middle School, Evergreen Middle School, Woodmont K-8, Thomas Jefferson High School and Federal Way High School.
“I learned that you should never give up, and even though you may mess up, you can get through it, no matter what,” said one student who attended the camp.
At the High Tech camp, students toured specialty sites at Microsoft, such as the Inclusive Technology Lab. They also had the opportunity to ask questions to current Microsoft interns who are in colleges and universities around the world. Scholars also attended workshops on Growth Mindset and Self Advocacy and persistence while taking rigorous courses.
In the Federal Way, the school district offers STEM Summer Learning Academies, integrated STEM curriculum and courses at middle and high school including engineering, digital manufacturing and robotics. Throughout the district there are also several clubs, such as Girls in Engineering Club with professionals as mentors and STEM After-School Clubs.
Each year, FWPS hosts, STEM Exploration Nights with high levels of partnerships with over 90 local colleges, universities, apprenticeship programs, and local and national companies. This event draws approximately 5,000 scholars from preschool through 12th grade to learn more about STEM career opportunities.
Reporter Olivia Sullivan contributed to this article.