Verizon Innovative Learning Brings New Tech Program to Girls in Rural Communities

Hands-On Workshops in Augmented Reality, 3D Design, Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship Aim to Empower, Prepare and Inspire Young Girls for the Careers of the Future
Jun 27, 2017 11:10 AM ET
Press Release

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., June 27, 2017 /3BL Media/ – This summer, Verizon Innovative Learning launches its first program addressing the need for more girls, especially those in rural America, to be prepared for the science, technology, engineering and math careers of the future.

The three-week summer learning experience will be piloted at five community colleges in rural areas across Iowa, Virginia and Tennessee in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

The program will expose 250 middle school girls to the fundamentals of augmented reality, coding, 3D design, entrepreneurship and design thinking principles, as well as to female mentors. Leveraging an augmented reality interface and app, students will create a culminating project that identifies – and solves – a community problem that aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focus areas of the SDGs include poverty reduction, quality education, good health and well-being, climate action, peace and justice or gender equality.

“We need more young women to have more exposure to new technologies and to, learn about the varied and lucrative jobs available to them within STEM fields,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Director of Education for the Verizon Foundation. “Through this new program, we are thrilled to offer the latest cutting-edge technology for our Verizon Innovative Learning students to engage with, that can ignite their entrepreneurial mindsets.”

Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM careers, where a staggering 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men. The percentage of women in STEM careers has not improved since 2001, specifically within the engineering (12 percent) and computing (26 percent) workforces.1

As a member organization of more than 300 community colleges across the country, NACCE is dedicated to supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in local communities. Community colleges selected for the Verizon Innovative Learning program are among the most innovative, committed and entrepreneurial of NACCE’s membership, and include:

  • Western Iowa Tech Community College System (Sioux City, IA)
  • Northern Iowa Area Community College (Mason City, IA)
  • Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, VA)
  • Paul D. Camp Community College (Franklin, VA)
  • Roane State Community College (Harriman, TN)

Following the summer program, students will continue to participate in monthly courses both in-person and virtually, to build upon learnings and complete their final augmented reality products.

The program was developed under Verizon Innovative Learning, an initiative of the Verizon Foundation to bring free technology, access and hands-on immersive learning experience to kids in need to prepare them to thrive in a digital economy. This year, Verizon launched #weneedmore, an effort to bring more attention to the critical need for more kids to see the world of possibilities waiting for them in STEM fields.  Learn more at

About Verizon Innovative Learning

Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, brings technology and hands-on learning opportunities to middle and high school students in underserved schools and communities. We not only fund the programs, but we also create and administer them in partnership with leading nonprofits. We diligently measure the impact of our work and refine our programs to ensure we’re making a difference. We’ve reached more than 300,000 students so far – and we’re just getting started. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit; or for regular updates, visit Facebook ( and Twitter (

1 Change the Equation, The Diversity Dilemma, 2015.

2 Work to Do, Carnegie Science Center, 2014.