Girls Get IT

Girls Get IT: Featuring Women in Information & Technology. November 19th, 2021. 8am-1pm

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3rd Annual Girls Get IT EventWoman Using Computer

Student Registration

Professional Women Registration

Administrators, Educators, Chaperones, Counselors Registration

Vendor Registration

Featuring Women in Information Technology
November 19, 2021 • 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Delta Hotels by Marriott • 200 N. Centennial Way • Mesa, AZ

Focusing on 9-12th grade high school girls interested in career opportunities in the field of Information Technology.

Discover the endless possibilities available to women in the field of Information Technology (IT) and make invaluable connections to educational partners and professionals already working in the field. This event is sponsored by the Maricopa Information Technology Institute, East Valley (MITI-EV) a collaborative of Chandler-Gilbert, Mesa, Rio Salado and Scottsdale Community Colleges.

What You Will Receive:

  • Learn from 50+ professional women, including engineers, web designers, program developers, data analysts and more.
  • Understand the full range of educational and professional opportunities available for women in IT.
  • Make connections by interacting with other females interested in studying IT or already working in the field of IT.

Breakout Sessions

  1. Two Women Using ComputersNanotechnologyNanotechnology is the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular scale especially to build microscopic devices (such as robots).
  2. Digital Footprints - A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet.
  3. Networking/AI - Networking - the practice of transporting and exchanging data between nodes over a shared medium in an information system. ... Networking facilitates everything from telephone calls to text messaging to streaming video to the internet of things. - Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. - Cloud Computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
  4. Programming Apps/Technopreneur, Spheros/Augmented Reality - Programming Apps is a program or set of programs which helps the software developers by assisting them in creating, debugging and maintaining other programs. Technopreneurship is the process of unifying the power of technology with entrepreneurial skills and capabilities. It generally begins with a customer experience and is worked backwards to arrive at the technological solution to be provided to the customers. Spheros is a spherical robot toy designed by Sphero. Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.
    Woman Using Computer
  5. Green Flag - Green Flag Mesa Business Center provides knowledge and resources to assist student startups in becoming self-sufficient within their first two years.
  6. GamingGaming is the running of specialized applications known as electronic games or video games on game consoles like Xbox and Playstation or on personal computers.
  7. Web Development/Free ResourcesWeb development refers to building, creating, and maintaining websites.
  8. Data CenterData Center is a large group of networked computer servers typically used by an organization for remote storage or distribution of large amounts of data.
  9. CybersecurityCybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks.Computer Classroom

Keynote Speaker

Fredi Lajvardi Fredi Lajvardi

​ Faridodin “Fredi” Lajvardi is the program manager for the Marine Science Magnet Program at Carl Hayden High School. He has been teaching at Carl Hayden H.S. for 28 years where he leads the Falcon Robotics Team, an extracurricular STEM program that has received national and worldwide recognition. In 2004, the team had its break out moment when students from the robotics team went to the MATE National ROV Championships in Santa Barbara, California and came back as national champions in a competition that some said they had no business even being in. One of the competitors was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Carl Hayden team has gone on to win other national competitions in the field of robotics. His team has been featured in Wired magazine, Reader’s Digest, ABC Nightline and on Soledad O’Brien’s CNN In America series. Three films about the team, Underwater DREAMS, a critically acclaimed documentary, Spare Parts, a Hollywood feature film produced by Lionsgate, and the latest, an IMAX film titled Dream Big by MacGillivray Freeman Films, captures the story in three distinct ways! Mr. Lajvardi’s team has inspired many other teams in Arizona and beyond. Falcon Robotics has revolutionized STEM education at Carl Hayden High School and has dramatically increased the number of students going into engineering and technical fields. Mr. Lajvardi believes that every high school should have an extracurricular STEM program to help reverse the science, math and technology deficit that exists in Arizona and the United States. By showing the youth of today that hard work and determination in STEM fields can be fun, exciting and rewarding, this deficit reduction can be achieved.


Joy Haugen Joy Haugen

Joy has a passion for helping individuals live the life they have always imagined...whether that be a new career, tackling a new adventure, or finding that new tribe of powerhouse people to surround themselves with! Joy brings possibility and creativity to inspire others and make a difference. With her corporate background and current role as Coaching Operations Manager for General Assembly, Joy offers close to a decade of experience in identifying value-driven solutions that cultivate strong relationships and establish effective business practices. She devises practical strategies for maximizing and supporting the strategic goals of an organization while keeping the human capital as her driving force. Her tactics lead to integrated, innovative, and effective processes that evoke results to ensure that individuals are reaching their full potential!

Samantha CalvinSamantha Calvin

Samantha is originally from a very small town of 803 people surrounded by corn fields in rural Minnesota.

She began her post-secondary education when she was 15 at her local community college where she was able to earn her Associate's in Science. Then, she finished her undergrad at the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!) - and received her Bachelor's in Health Sciences with a minor in Spanish. Samantha later moved to Arizona to manage an initiative between Mayo Clinic and ASU. She completed her first master's degree in Healthcare Innovation, and also started her PhD in Nursing and Healthcare Innovation during this time. Becoming interested in the “business” side of healthcare, she also completed her MBA and began law school (apparently a true life-long learner).

She has been teaching full-time for Arizona State University in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation since 2015, and part-time as adjunct faculty in health sciences at MCC since 2016. In 2017 she had the opportunity to enter a consulting position with MCC where she gets to work with the outreach and recruitment department to get students excited about college. She has also done work with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. House of Representatives.

Breakout Session Leads

Dr. Sheila Brandt Dr. Sheila Brandt

Dr. Brandt has a passion for all things information technology and aspires to attract more females to the field through her mentorship and coaching of students across the board. After spending 12 years working in industry in roles such as Chief Information Officer, Information Systems Consultant, Application Developer and Programmer/Analyst, Sheila joined the SCC Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty and has been teaching for the past 20 years. In particular, she has thoroughly enjoyed teaching courses in Application Development, Data Analytics and Web Development. Sheila proudly led the CIS department as its chair for 10 years. She achieved her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University (in Business/Decision Sciences) and her master’s and Ph.D at the University of Arizona (both in Management Information Systems).

Sara Beakley-Mercill Sara Beakley-Mercill

Sara Beakley-Mercill has built her career around education, business, and technology working in both the public and private sectors. She has 20+ years of experience designing, building, and teaching technology classes in higher education. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and is a Master of Science in Graphic Information Technology both from Arizona State University. Her areas of specialization focus on web design technologies, social media integration with academics, and design and usability best practices for online instruction.

Sara currently teaches full time for Scottsdale Community College (SCC) in the Computer and Information Systems (CIS) department. She teaches subjects in eCommerce, social media, Photoshop, and MS Office. She is passionate about teaching technology and her favorite saying to her students is "Do not be afraid to fail, that is where the learning magic happens!"

Dr. Deb LaVergne Dr. Deb LaVergne

Dr. LaVergne serves as Mesa Community College’s Occupational Program Director for Computer Information Systems: Programming/Web Technology. Dr. LaVergne has been teaching CIS and MGT classes over 30 years including full time at MCC for 20 years. She was a member of two MCC Innovation of the Year Award teams. Her educational background includes an Associates of Applied Science (from MCC), B.A and M.A. in Organizational Management, and a Doctorate of Education in Education Technology Management.

Dr. LaVergne served 15 years in the corporate world as a technical training engineer, curriculum developer, software analyst, HR manager, and a small business owner. While working with Intel, she traveled to many countries to train.

Hannah Cheloha Hannah Cheloha

Hi, my name is Hannah Cheloha and I am an American Sign Language Lecturer at Arizona State University (ASU). I have an MA in English and an MA in Education both from ASU. I am currently a PhD candidate for Linguistics and applied Linguistics. I am interested in online teaching and American Sign Language (ASL). I took coding courses to build a sign language app which is now in the app store. I have had the privilege of working on two other apps. One is the RISE app (Resources, Information, and Services for Everyone) which connects students with free community resources. The other is the Reach Out AZ app which is coming soon. In addition to my regular job I have an online presence using social media and my WordPress site to share free ASL resources. I am excited to share with you my experience using swift to create an iOS app and to inspire more students to create exciting projects using code.

Andrea L. Schauer Andrea L. Schauer

There are 00I0 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don’t. I do. Understanding binary is just one skill I possess. Not only am I left brained I am also a little bit right brained. I am the Occupational Program Director for Cisco, CompTIA A+ and AWS Cloud. I teach IT Cisco Networking Technology and I substitute-teach GCC’s glass art classes. Yep, I’m a professional glass artist and nominee for 2017’s Artist of Promise. I am a passionate, enthusiastic teacher excited to educate and committed to all student success but as a woman in technology, I am particularly aware of the gender gap in the world of IT. Currently, only 25% of IT jobs are held by women and about 17% of computer science graduates are women. As a female teacher in the technology field, I mentor, encourage and help pave a path for women to enter IT careers thus promoting educational and work parity.

Bhavna RawalBhavna Rawal

Prof. Rawal has earned a Bachelor Degree in chemical engineering, A Masters Degree in chemistry and a Masters Degree in education. Her focus on STEM is from an engineer's perspective rather than a teacher's perspective. This is why she has a unique and rigorous outlook on STEM education. She uses and promotes innovative, creative, hands-on, project-based learning, supplemented by field trips and talks by expert guest speakers from local businesses and universities. During her work at the West Houston institute, she shared her experience and expertise with the other STEM instructors who are guiding STEM education - to hear from them - what is being done, what is successful and what are promising ventures that we might pursue to further STEM education. She uses her experience to further promote hands-on, project based STEM education informed by interaction with local districts and universities. She initiated and successfully implemented projects such as building an experiment for the Drop In Micro Gravity Environment (DIME), building and testing an experiment in the zero gravity flight with NASA, and colonizing Mars activity among many activities in her STEM classrooms.

Leah PalmerLeah Palmer

Leah Palmer is the Executive Director for AzAMI at Mesa Community College. She has established a proven record of transformative and innovative results with over 20 years of hands-on experience forging productive partnerships and collaborative solutions such as building needed talent pipelines for accelerated technician training serving hundreds of students developing electrical wiring and J Standard skills for Aerospace manufacturing companies like Boeing and others. Next in demand is Semiconductor and Electric Vehicle manufacturing technicians. With AzAMI, Leah Has developed workforce implementation strategies for the manufacturing sector, connecting the talent supply with competency-based training in automation, robotics, electronics, 3D printing, drafting, machining and welding programs effectively addressing the growing workforce demands in Arizona. Her expertise is strategic planning, program design, grants management, and building a systems approach supported by collaborative processes that bring together education resources and Industry. Leah has earned a Master of Arts, Organizational Communication – Training & Development from Arizona State University, College of Public Programs and a Bachelor of Arts, Communications & Interpersonal Development.

Carrie Allen

Carie Allen, JD

Carie Allen is the Chair of the Business Department at Mesa Community College. She has taught Business Law, Business Communications and Owning and Operating a Small Business classes.

Professor Allen works with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce to provide services for Entrepreneurial students and is a member of the Santander Grant Disbursement Committee.

Having owned several small businesses herself, she is excited to share her experiences with others. She came to MCC having earned her Juris Doctor and BA degrees from Arizona State University.

Dan Piercy

Dan PiercyDan Piercy is a program director over entrepreneurship and small business management at Mesa Community College where he teaches many of the classes in entrepreneurship. He is the advisor to the student entrepreneur club, and the director of the Green Flag Mesa Business Center. He holds a BS in Business Administration and Marketing and earned his Masters degree from the University of Phoenix in Global Management. Dan has over 30 years of experience in global business management. During his professional career, he filled positions in purchasing, sales, operations, general management, and vice president over sales and marketing. In that role he assisted in the development of a highly successful global marketing strategy designed to both increase market share and expand global visibility by establishing a strong international presence and building and managing a network of distributors in Asia, Europe, India and the South Pacific. To accomplish this, he frequently visited with international distributors and their customers, eventually building friendships and professional relationships in over 30 countries around the world.

Prema Rayappa Prema Rayappa

Prema is a CIS/CSC Faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College since 2015. She has a Bachelor's in Electronics Engineering from India and a Masters in Computing Studies from Arizona State University. Her areas of teaching include Computer Programming, Databases, and Web Design. Prema Rayappa is certified as a lead coach of the Intel for Youth Artificial Intelligence Program as of May 2020. She is one of the advisors of the CGCC Coding Club and is actively involved in community outreach programs.


Kathleen Wagner Kathleen Wagner
Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Intel Corporation

Kathy started her career with Intel 27 years as a Manufacturing Technician in Fab 17, Massachusetts. She has held several positions since joining such as an administrative assistant, training specialist and after relocating to Arizona in 2004 began her long career in talent acquisition. Within Talent acquisition, she has been a program manager, recruiter, business analyst, account manager. Today, Kathy and her team are responsible for about a 3rd of the companies hiring globally.

Gabriella Rosu Gabriela Rosu
Dean of Instructions, Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Gabriela has over 14 years in Higher Education as faculty, and leadership roles and over 12 years in the industry as a cyber security manager working for a large national bank. She has been Invited to lecture at Oxford and Oxford Round Table on topics on cyber security and global laws. Gabriela is currently a PhD candidate in the field of Psychology, Health and Wellness PSY Specialization at the University of Arizona Global Campus in Phoenix, AZ. She holds a Master of Science, Multimedia from Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Robert Morris University in Pittsburg, PA. Gabriela has served as the Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C | CISO) with EC-Council in Tampa, FL and also with Homeland Security - Level V (Basic Emergency Preparedness, Response and Coordination, Awareness and Recognition, Incident Awareness, Response, and Terrorism, CBRNE- Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives), American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, Springfield, MO (2007). Grabriella has presented on numerous IT topics such as “Human Security a Vulnerability to Global Security and Terrorism”, Evolution of Organized Crime in Cyberspace” and Technology A Threat to Global Security” .

Girls Get IT 2021 Resource Fair

Vendor Talking to Student Vendors, your participation in Girls Get IT is a vital role in reinforcing our efforts of creating awareness of the many IT and Technology Programs, Clubs and Organizations and so many wonderful institutions that are available to the students as they transition from high school to their post secondary environment.

For vendor opportunities at GGIT2021, please click here.

While you are visiting the vendor fair, be sure to stop by the ROBOTICS DEMONSTRATION presented by Ken Hackler!
Robotics is an interdisciplinary field that integrates computer science and engineering. Robotics involves design, construction, operation, and use of robots. The goal of robotics is to design machines that can help and assist humans.


STUDENTS: Please click here to register if you are a STUDENT

Make an Impact on the Future of Young Girls and Women! We’d love to have you come share the day with us!
Please click here to register if you are a PROFESSIONAL WOMAN

Please click here to register if you are an Administrator, Educator Chaperone or Counselor

Friday, November 19, 2021
8:00 am - 1 pm – Free Attendance
Register by October 30, 2021


Who will attend this event?

  • Over 150+ high school females
  • 50+ Professional women in the IT sector
  • High school and post secondary educators/administrators

Sponsorship Levels

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

CLICK HERE to continue with your generous commitment.
We thank you for your support!

Event Testimonials

"Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity"
"Feeling So Inspired"
"I loved how interactive it was and I could tell that a lot of hard work was put in this event."
"This was such a great experience. Thank you!"
"Thank you for creating this opportunity. It was a super fun day and very informative!"
"This experience was so inspirational, so thank you all for the work that was put in to this event."
"I loved it... made me feel so confident."
"This event was amazing and I can't wait for next year!"

View Highlights from the Girls Get IT 2020 Virtual Event
Watch the Video from the Girls Get IT 2019 Event