CHARLOTTE, N.C. — STEM continues to be a big topic of discussion, especially when it comes to the lack of diversity.
So, one former Charlotte educator decided to start her own foundation after seeing first-hand the startling numbers around girls in her technology classes.
“As I was teaching, I began to notice that the female population in my class was dropping," said Dr. Sharon Jones. "Every year there were less and less girls in my class. And I kept thinking “where are my girls?"
During her teaching days, Dr. Jones said she noticed a dramatic drop in the number of girls in her technology classes. Part of the reason, they didn’t understand what the class entailed.
“They didn’t know exactly what we did and what we taught. So that began to clock in my brain," she said. "Ok, what can we do to show them there is a connection between IT and everything else that they do.”
More stories on WCNC: Rock Hill principal named South Carolina Elementary School Principal of the Year
Dr. Jones started recruiting for her classes. Then she moved to workshops for other organizations before realizing it was time to do her own thing.
“Really go inside to my passion and heart and create this non-profit so that we could serve more girls and so that we could show them there’s a place for them. And that’s how it began," Dr. Jones said.
Dr. Jones is the founder of The Dottie Rose Foundation, named in honor of her grandmother. She started the foundation three years ago. Their mission is to connect the dots between real-world applications and computer science.
“We’re there to help girls find their space in the world of technology and quite frankly their place in where they want to be for their career," she explained.
The foundation offers activities, camps, and workshops, which cover many areas girls are interested in like art, fashion, music, and beauty.
“We have a beauty camp coming up in December where you’re going to make your own soap, eye shadow, lip gloss, but we’re gonna make, market and monetize and we’re gonna do that by showing them how to make it, how to take great digital imagery and how to put it onto a website in order to market it.”
Drawing inspiration from her grandmother to expose the field of technology to a group that may otherwise feel left out.
“My grandmother is up there dancing. She loved to dance, and I just see her tapping along because this was always her love was to make sure that all doors were open and anybody was allowed at the table, no matter where you were," Dr. Jones said.
More stories on WCNC: Vice-President praises South Carolina vaccine plan, says 'we'll heal our land'