Blerdology Founder Continues Mission to Empower Young Women Through STEM

Before she launched Blerdology, tech savvy entrepreneur Kat Calvin was busy putting young girls all across the Washington, D.C., area in training to become successful, educated leaders in life.

Blerdology hosted its inaugural event in 2012 and marked the first nonprofit hackathon series specifically geared toward African-American women in the tech community.

As it turns out, however, the hackathon was only the latest venture from founder Calvin who has dedicated much of her time to empowering young women through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Roughly four years ago, Calvin launched Michelle in Training, a nonprofit organization that teaches young women the type of skills they need to become successful leaders and possibly the next tech entrepreneurs of their generation.

“Our mission is to teach college-bound high school girls the professional and life skills they need to succeed,” Calvin said to Atlanta Blackstar.

While the nonprofit doesn’t only focus on technology-based skills, it does take a particular focus on making sure young women are introduced to STEM careers.

“We have a special focus on STEM because these days that is a profession and a life skill,” Calvin said.

Last year, Calvin explained exactly why she considered STEM skills like coding to be so essential for the young women who are a part of her organization.

“If you can code, you can find a job, especially like now – every single thing is done [online],” Calvin said on her website. “Even if you run a brick and mortar [store] selling antique buttons, you have to have a website! If you code and you can develop a website, you will have a job. Coders and graphic designers at the end of the earth will be the only people who still have jobs.”

In addition to making the D.C. girls a little more tech savvy, the nonprofit also focuses on “study skills, health and wellness, etiquette and appropriate dress, leaders” and much more.

According to Calvin, these are the skills that can help mold the young soon-to-be first generation college students into strong, confident professionals.

The core values of the organization are the skills that Calvin insists many students aren’t learning in urban high schools, according to the official Michelle in Training website.

“Social intelligence, philanthropy, cultural awareness, educational curiosity, civic responsibility and personal branding,” are all listed as core values at Michelle in Training and are often referred to as “MiT skills.”

Other exciting activities that MiT girls have been a part of include outdoor camping trips, archery classes and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet President Barack Obama.