Course Overview

It Girls: Empowering Women in Technology is an interactive and fun course where you’ll gain real-world skills in a variety of technology topics, learn from current technology experts, and explore women’s impact on the technology field. Through lectures, hands-on activities, a course-long web development project and the building of a professional portfolio, participants leave the experience feeling energized, driven, curious about information technology, and inspired to seek future opportunities in STEM.

The speakers and daily topics are different every year. Past topics include:

  • Web Development
  • Cryptology
  • Data In Society – Self Tracking Devices
  • Artificial Intelligence – Teachable Machines
  • Retail Data Analysis – Increase Revenue by Examining Data
  • Google Fu – Better Internet Searching
  • Bias Or Bust – How Media Sources Persuade Us
  • Robotics – Automating Repetitive Tasks
  • Women In Video Games
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Driven Storytelling
  • Math In Fashion

An essential component of the course involves creating meaningful connections between participants, professionals, companies, and alumni who are committed to supporting underrepresented identities in the IT industry. Class activities include a combination of collaborative team-based work and individual projects.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Become empowered and informed about how to leverage technology to solve real world problems
  • Join a network of high school students interested in information, data and technology
  • Learn how to be a problem-solver, critical thinker, and leader

While the mission of Empowering Women in Technology is to motivate, educate, and change the perception of girls and women in information technology, the program is open to everyone, regardless of their sex, gender, or gender identity.

“The course was life changing for me.” Read how two participants forged a deep friendship that lead them to become freshman roommates at Syracuse University’s iSchool.

Since I’m the only girl in my high school computer science class, it was great just meeting other girls who are interested in the field. It makes me feel less alone in STEM.”                                                          

-Former participant

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 067

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. For best consideration students should have a high interest in data, information, technology, collaboration and problem-solving. This course is open to high school students of any sex, gender, or gender identity.

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $2,195
  • Commuter: $1,726

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus1-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Some afternoon and evening sessions will be required
Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Required Supplies

Students should budget for required textbooks and supplies.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

The morning session will consist of the day’s lesson and could include prep work or a review discussion of the day before. Afternoons will be split between additional lesson time and course work time. Course work may include readings, videos, projects and other assignments. There will be night time homework assigned some days.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

End Event

On the final day of class, students will present their work. Family members are invited to attend.

Faculty Bio

Laurie Ferger

Laurie Ferger is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Information Studies.

At age 12, Laurie encountered the Commodore 64 (which had approximately 1 millionth of the RAM of a modern computer). Back then magazines published code that you could type to create simple video games. Understanding these games ignited a passion that was the beginning of her career in programming.

In college she majored in mathematics, and took programming classes including Logo, Basic, C and Pascal. She was often the only female member of the class.

Her first job was teaching computer skills to K-12 students at Hamilton Central Schools. She left Hamilton to write software for fashion designers and learned how to weave and create patterns based on mathematics. Her work for the advertising agency Mark Russell and Associates expanded her skills to web programming for large firms like ADT.

After programming for the web became her focus, she started her own business and has been running it for 20 years. She has completed over 200 websites with backend programming in content management systems, e-commerce and database driven applications. She also shares her knowledge as a professor at the Syracuse University iSchool teaching SQL database, python programming and web development.

When Laurie is not at work you can find her singing with the Syracuse Opera or riding her bike.

Lauren Hardee-Chase

Originally from Philadelphia, Pa. I moved to Syracuse in 1992 after accepting a position with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) pharmaceutical company. I retired in 2015 and was fortunate enough to pursue a second career as an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool). I am a proud veteran of the US Army Reserves, having served in my home unit, the 348th General Hospital in Pennsylvania and several duty stations in the US as a clerk typist and personnel records management specialist. After retiring from Bristol-Myers Squibb as a Manager, Information Systems, I served as an Election Inspector and a certified Voting Machine Specialist (VSS). I also volunteered at the Camillus Senior Center and joined the Camillus Democratic Committee of which I am still a member. I am currently the Technology Chair. In the aftermath of the 1998 Labor Day storm, I was a co-founder of the Parkway Drive Neighborhood Association where we successfully organized a neighborhood cleanup and beautification project. The effort was supported by the city of Syracuse, local businesses and churches and we partnered with other Syracuse community groups including Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today (TNT). We were also fortunate to help sponsor and support a singlefamily home with Habitat for Humanity. Previous volunteer work includes Girls Inc, CNY (board member and Technology Committee Chair) and the Brady Faith Center (board member and previous Chair). Throughout my life I have been a volunteer in church in leadership positions, choir, and musician. I currently play electric bass for the Gospel Choir. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, theatre, concerts, music, video games, playing blues guitar and electric bass. I love home DIY projects; I am a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, Red Sox, and of course, Syracuse Basketball (Women & Men) and Football. Basically, I enjoy life!