Community June 1, 2018

Skagit County STEM

On Tuesday, May 15th, Skagit Valley College at Mcintyre Hall hosted a STEM focused Girls Tech Event with speakers from Microsoft, Amazon, FaceBook, Whatcom Community College and Windermere. The goal was to bring women with positions of leadership to speak from their experiences and into the lives of girls from Skagit and Snohomish counties.The event was organized by 14-year-old Alex Shepler.Marla and Alex

Alex has been coding since he was 11 years old and can now code in 7 different languages. He has spent the last year lecturing to young people about the importance of education.  “Don’t be a surface learner,” is Alex’s mantra.

Through these lectures, Alex noticed the disparity between males and females who attend computer science classes in college compared to younger students.  “In the classes he taught to middle school kids, the groups have been evenly split, boys and girls,” said Alex’s father, Jim Shepler. “But at the college level, it looks more like 5 to 1 males to females.”

To combat this, Alex is encouraging young women to think outside the box about their futures and the integral part that technology has in the changing career landscape. Since STEM-focused education is an interdisciplinary approach combining academic concepts and real world lessons, Alex invited successful female leaders to speak to 8th and 9th grade students from local school districts.

“The event was a great success,” said Marla. “It was wonderful to see the students engaging with such strong, successful women. I was honored to be there.”

To learn more about Skagit STEM visit