SOURCE: IBM

May 04, 2005 13:00 ET

IBM EXITE Camps Inspire Today's Girls to Become Scientists, Mathematicians and Engineers of Tomorrow

48 Week-Long Camps Show Girls How Technology and Innovation Are Transforming Societies Around the World

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 4, 2005 -- Developing countries and established nations alike are looking forward to the contributions the next generation of mathematicians, scientists and engineers will make to society. IBM is encouraging middle school age girls to take their place among these future innovators through its EXITE -- EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering -- Camps.

"Studies show that young girls enjoy math as much as boys but, by the eighth grade, twice as many boys as girls show interest in pursuing careers in science, engineering and math," said Janet Perna, general manager, Information Management Solutions, IBM Software Group. "We've got to make young girls understand that a career in technology does not have to be dull or boring. It's just the opposite. Technology and science-related careers offer opportunities to be creative, to become a leader, to give back to your community and to establish financial independence."

Between May and October 2005, more than 1,500 girls, ages 11-13, will attend one of 48 IBM-sponsored EXITE Camps in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Campers attending the weeklong EXITE programs will take part in a variety of engineering and science-related projects that, among other things, will underscore the impact technology is making on everyday life.

--  In Manila, Philippines, EXITE campers will learn how to farm without
    soil using the latest computer-controlled technology during a visit at a
    hydroponics farm.
    
--  In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the EXITE Camp will take place at the
    National Education Institute for the Deaf, where girls will learn basic
    technology skills such as data processing and more importantly, discover
    how technology is used to prevent deafness and help the deaf communicate
    with family and friends.
    
--  In Bangkok, Thailand, campers will meet members of the IBM Crisis
    Response Team who have been working with the government and various
    agencies in the wake of the tsunami disaster to better understand how IBM
    technology is assisting relief and recovery efforts.
    
--  In San Jose, California, girls will work on team building activities
    such as a human suspension bridge and they will also discover how
    technology is used in an environmental research project centered on
    wetlands.
    
These projects, coupled with the enthusiasm, and inspiration provided by camp coordinators, program presenters and volunteers, are designed to encourage the girl's interest in mathematics and science and give them a firsthand look at the wealth of career opportunities technology can provide.

Launched in 1999, EXITE Camps are an extension of IBM's commitment to reach groups that are under-represented in the technical workforce and to train and recruit individuals from these groups for technical careers. Since its inception, more than 4,000 girls have participated in EXITE Camps around the world and, following their experience, approximately 85% said they would pursue an engineering or technical-related degree when they go to college.

According to a study released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the top five fastest-growing occupations are computer-related. Similarly, The National Science Foundation estimates that in 2010, as many as one-fifth of all jobs will be technology oriented. "It's very clear that people who have advanced technical skills have the most opportunities available to them, and we want today's young girls to be among those in that enviable position," Perna said.

EXITE Camp participants are nominated by counselors and teachers at middle schools that have an established relationship with IBM through such community outreach programs as Reinventing Education or MentorPlace, where IBM volunteers communicate with students via e-mail throughout the school year.

Nearly 2,000 IBM volunteers, female and male, will participate in the EXITE Camps, developing, coordinating and overseeing such activities as web page design, computer chip design, laser optics, animation, robotics and working with computer hardware and software. The volunteers will also introduce the girls to a variety of IBM technologies including TryScience.org, an award-winning web site designed to make learning science more fun for kids. In addition, they will serve as e-mentors, corresponding with participants during the school year via email, providing tutoring and encouraging the students to further pursue their interests in math, science and technology.

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

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