Girls Build! Day Aims to Bridge the STEM Opportunity Gap.

On Saturday, January 9, 2021, the Chicago Architecture Center will hold its second annual Girls Build! Day, themed “Sustainable Futures.” This free virtual STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) festival, designed for girls ages 10 to 16, will gather experts from the Center for Architecture in New York, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Discovery Channel, and others.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m., an all-female panel of professionals will kick off the event with an hour-long discussion on STEM careers and the importance of promoting environmental sustainability. They will also address the unique challenges and benefits of pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, and design.

Destiny Brady

During breakout sessions following the discussion, representatives from local and national organizations will conduct fun and engaging activities. After registering online for the event, participants will receive links to pre-register for workshops and a list of materials needed to complete tasks remotely.

Destiny Brady, currently a senior in the architecture program at the University of Wisconsin−Milwaukee, comes full circle and returns this year as a panelist. She said that having participated in Chicago Architecture Center’s Teen Ambassadors and Teen Fellows programs put her on the path to transform her big dreams of becoming an architect into reality. The experience taught her the value of dedication and faith, helped her become a problem solver, and instilled the importance of fostering the community and creating a space where everyone feels welcome and heard.

Also on the panel is Camille Applewhite, a landscape architect and a co-founder of BlackSpace Chicago, a collective of Black urbanists who work to shape social and spatial environments by protecting and promoting Black communities. Other panelists include Dorimar del Río Velez, women’s empowerment advocate and Architectural Designer for CannonDesign, and Fawn Pochel, environmental justice advocate and Education Coordinator for the American Indian Center of Chicago.

As the Director of Education and Experience for the Chicago Architecture Center, Angela Esposito, who will serve as moderator for the event, is passionate about broadening access and exposure to architecture, engineering, and urban planning for underrepresented students.

To register and learn more about Girls Build! Day, go to https://www.architecture.org/programs-events/detail/girls-build-day-2021-sustainable-futures. For information on other education programs, call (312) 922-8687 or send an email to info@architecture.org.

Donna Montgomery is a Storyteller and Community Affairs/Arts Writer in Chicago. Find her on social media @GoldenLadyWrites.

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