Adler Planetarium Inspires CPS Students to Pursue STEM Careers at First-Ever Girls Do Hack Event on November 9

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Young women will partner with mentors, engage in hands-on activities and discover they have the right stuff to become STEM professionals.

On Saturday, November 9, the Adler Planetarium will host the first-ever Girls Do Hack, a one-day event dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Girls Do Hack will immerse 48 young women, ages 14 to 18, from Chicago Public Schools in activities that highlight skills needed for STEM professions. The students will be paired with 24 STEM professional volunteer mentors to take part in workshops including developing mobile phone apps, robotics, exo-planet detection and more.

As a science museum that serves as a public center of learning, the Adler developed this event in an effort to take an active role in helping young women to consider pursuing careers in STEM-related fields. Girls Do Hack, created by the Adler’s team of educators, scientists and program specialists, is bringing together community partners that will introduce girls to female STEM professionals and help them gain confidence in skills required to pursue these careers.

“Girls Do Hack is about teaming students up with dynamic female STEM professionals in a task-based environment where they’ll communicate and work together,” said Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D., Adler Planetarium President and CEO. “In doing so, not only will these young women recognize that they already possess valuable skills they can apply to careers in STEM, but in meeting female professionals with similar interests, they can better envision themselves as a programmer, engineer or scientist.”

The day begins with an opening address by Larson and a keynote speech by Poornima Vijayashanker, Femgineer founder and Girls Do Hack event partner. Following the address by Vijayashanker, each mentor will be paired with two girls. They will join other small groups to form teams and take part in workshop sessions and drop-in activities occurring around the museum.

The workshops sessions focus on skills needed to pursue and excel in STEM careers including observation, attention to detail, logic, troubleshooting, creativity, communication, perseverance and more. Workshops sessions include:

Searching for Exoplanets
Participants will join the search for planets beyond our solar system. Using light sensors and orreries, they will use the transit method to detect these exoplanets. Using real data from the Kepler Telescope they will look for their own exoplants and explore the diversity of known exoplanets using NASA’s Eyes on Exoplanets.             

Mobile Phone Apps
Using portions of Iridescent’s Technovations curriculum, participants will try their hand at mobile phone app creation.

Create your Own Tour of the Solar System
Using World Wide Telescope, participants will storyboard and create a visual tour of our solar system.

The day will conclude with the large group coming back together to share their experiences.

The presenting sponsor for Girls Do Hack is Teza. Founded in 2009, Teza is a science and technology driven global quantitative trading business headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York and London. Teza CEO Misha Malyshev, Ph.D. is an active supporter of education initiatives and will be in attendance at the Girls Do Hack event.

“It is imperative for our employees to bring a variety of STEM backgrounds to Teza, and we are proud to join the Adler Planetarium’s efforts to inspire new minds in Chicago and elsewhere,” said Malyshev. “We are excited to support Girls Do Hack, which empowers girls and helps them gain confidence in the skills required for careers in STEM fields.”

In addition to Teza, other Girls Do Hack partners include Femgineer, After School Matters, Ms.Tech and 3D Printer Experience. For more information about Girls Do Hack, please visit

About the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium - America’s First Planetarium - was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people - particularly women and minorities - to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers.

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Nicholas Glenn
Adler Planetarium
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