In October, 14 girls from ChickTech’s Portland High School program came to PSU’s Department of Engineering for our workshop, Worlds in Play. 12 volunteers jumped in to offer hands-on, fun learning in areas of game development.
Girls gained exposure to STEAM careers, built positive social relationships, and increased their skills in areas of Art and Animation, Programming, and Music or Sound Engineering.
Part of our success was the great commitment of mentors to, more than teach, serve as learning facilitators; the heart of this is to be great listeners, offering advice and enthusiasm for the girls to be curious and discover new interests.
Key to our mentors’ successes is working collaboratively! With the support of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), we hosted a training for new volunteers to become powerful mentors. We acted out common situations such as when a youth says, “I can’t do that. I’m not a programmer” or “I’m not a good artist. That’s too hard for me.” In the role plays, we experienced the challenge of how to respond authentically, model prosocial relationships, and support a growth mindset.
At a direct result of the IPRC and the volunteer training, the girls gave us high praise, ranking Worlds in Play on average 4.5 out 5. We also asked, “what comments would you like to share with mentors?” and they said:
|A fun and valuable experience|
|All the mentors were wonderful and helped me a lot.|
|They are all awesome.|
|Loved it. Thank you!|
|Very friendly and very much dedicated to seeing us improve.|
|You guys were so amazing and it was so encouraging to have you all around. Keep it up!|
|Excellent job. I had a lot of fun, thanks for coming!|
|Thanks for helping us learn new things, it’s so much fun.|
|You guys rocked!|
|Thank you so much! This was very helpful!|
Our heartfelt thanks to ChickTech, the IPRC, PSU Department of Engineering, and to Pixel Arts Game Education’s amazing community of volunteers! By collaborating, we created an amazing experience for the girls to become makers and leaders in technology fields.