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TechGirls' Power Electronics Experience

Aug 12, 2021

Christina DiMarino
Every day, for two-weeks in July, 27 young women from around the world came together virtually to learn about power electronics.

CPES Assistant Professor Christina DiMarino organized the course which included classroom-style lectures and technology demonstrations with help from many CPES students and faculty and the Student Council.

Dr. DiMarino's course, Power Electronics for a Sustainable Future, highlighted power electronics as a key enabling technology for the electrical and electronics industry, with applications ranging from consumer and portable electronics and electric vehicles to renewable energy and electrification of rural and developing regions. TechGirls participants learned about electrical circuits, power electronics converters, and circuit simulation tools.

CPES was the perfect organization to provide this experience, with a focus on hands-on learning and creating innovative power electronics solutions for society.

"TechGirls is supposed to be an in-person experience," said DiMarino. "To provide an engaging virtual experience, we developed a series of pre-recorded videos with lectures, simulation exercises, and hardware demonstrations, and live group design challenges that enable them to apply what they have learned."

TechGirls is a U.S. Department of State initiative and exchange program designed to inspire young women from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the U.S. to pursue higher education and careers in technology through hands-on skills development. It is administered by Legacy International in partnership with Virginia Tech's Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED).

In less than 10 years, the TechGirls program has helped 238 young women prepare to be the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The TechGirls program offers a rich cultural immersion experience, improves the participants' ability to enter tech fields and encourages them to pursue higher education in fields where women are under-represented.

Overall program goals include:
  • Improve participants' ability to enter tech fields and gain access to higher education
  • Increase participants' skills and knowledge in current technologies
  • Connect and support the next generation of women STEM leaders
Rolando Burgos, CPES Director states, "CPES strongly supports efforts to make STEM education available around the world, and we strive to increase underrepresented groups in power electronics. TechGirls is important because it helps on both counts, and we hope it will help continue strong female participation within CPES."

"This has been a tremendous experience," says DiMarino. "These young women were truly inspiring - so positive, excited and motivated to learn."

Christina DiMarino - I want to give a huge thanks to all those that have helped with this course. They did an amazing job!

  • Benjamin Albano
  • Igor Cvetkovic
  • Joseph Kozak
  • Marie Lawson
  • Vladimir Mitrovic
  • Slavko Mocevic
  • Paul Mourges
  • Adhistira Naradhipa
  • Arash Nazari
  • Minh Ngo
  • Lakshmi Ravi
  • He Song
  • Matthias Spieler
  • Le Wang

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