Community,Technology | October 16 2019

Lesson for the Day: Girls Get IT

For the 50 middle school girls attending this year’s GET IT Day or “Girls Exploring Together Information Technology” Day at FCA’s Auburn Hills campus, the event provided a hands-on experience with the technology that plays an important role in nearly every FCA vehicle, from design and manufacturing to their operation on the road.  

GET-IT (Girls Exploring Together Information Technology) program, an after-school team activity designed by the Michigan Council of Women in Technology to encourage girls to consider and ultimately pursue a career in information technology.

Jeff Pitoniak, WAN Architect, FCA ICT, explains the steps involved in building a smart speaker during the GET IT Day at FCA.

“If it’s self driving, what are you going to do in the car?,” Mamatha Chamarthi, Chief Information Officer, FCA-North America and Asia Pacific, asked the girls who were gathered at the FCA Information Communications & Technology Building.

“Draw, I’m always drawing,” Kathleen Becker, a student at Stevenson Middle School in Westland, Michigan answered.

Kathleen Becker, a student at Stevenson Middle School, displays her Jeep®-inspired concept she drafted at this year’s GET IT Day.

Chamarthi explained that Kathleen’s love of drawing could one day land her in FCA’s design studios, using information technology to design cars before they become clay models. 

“So it’s not just about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is also about arts,” Chamarthi said.

Abigail Raisanen (left) from Stevenson Middle School in Westland. Michigan got a charge out of hearing FCA Chief Information Officer Mamatha Chamarthi rev the engine during the GET-IT Girls field trip at FCA.

As part of the GET IT Day, girls from Nolan Elementary-Middle School and Carver STEM Academy in Detroit and Stevenson Middle School in Westland, Michigan, were introduced to machine learning, artificial intelligence, coding and speech recognition technology. However, among all of the activities the girls participated in during the event, building a smart speaker that answered questions about the weather seemed to elicit the most excitement.

“The next step is to get them interested in pursuing careers in the automotive industry, and then focus on retaining this talent in Detroit,” Chamarthi added.