How STEAM classes are creating careers to close the gaming industry’s gender gap

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Few women hold executive positions in the casino and gaming industry. However, there are STEAM programs that caters to young women, and they hope to put a big break in that glass ceiling.

“When you think of the gaming and hospitality industry, you might think of the resorts on the Strip, but maybe not the things off the Strip,” said Shekinah Hoffman, founder of Battle Born Girls Innovate. “So, the suppliers and the manufacturers and actually the technology side of it.”

Hoffman is the founder of Battle Born Girls Innovate, a program that introduces young women to STEAM careers.

“STEAM is just adding the “A” and the importance of arts into science, technology, engineering, and math,” she said. 

Hoffman works with local teachers, like Gina Nakahara, to help shape the future.

“I’m retired Military; 21 years,” Nakahara said. “So, most of my career, I was surrounded by men.”

Nakahara started Roy Martin Middle School’s first Robotics and Girls in STEAM program.

“It feels like a powerful movement,” said 13-year-old Ayteh Rodriguez.

A total of 38 girls at the school are involved in the program.

“If you put your mind to it, you can do it. You don’t care what anyone else says,” said 13-year-old Hannah Hoffman.

For Nakahara, it’s about giving students hope.

“Some students are homeless. Some students have no food at home,” she said. “Maybe someday when they make it big, and they’re engineers, they can remember us little people who helped them get there.”

Hoffman is currently taking applications for high school students from Title 1 schools for “YES 2020” in June. “Yes 2020” is a four-week summer program of applied learning, team collaboration, and a mentor-guided, case-study analysis of the global hospitality tourism industry.

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