In April, we asked the question, ‘what happens when 25 middle school girls get together?’ The answer was CO.LAB. Red Hat hosted 25 Latina-American and African-American girls from underserved areas of Boston for an immersive experience, introducing them to the principles of open source — and to a world of technology and collaboration.

This fall we’re taking the experience on the road to teach girls about the interconnectivity of arts and technology. CO.LAB, presented by Open Source Stories, will be making stops in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, NC in an effort to empower young girls with collaborative problem solving skills that can help them succeed in their pursuit of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) careers.

During each two-day stop, the girls will join Red Hat mentors in our mobile lab where they will build, code, and use open source technology. On the first day, the girls will learn about open source and collaboration, leading to the coding and transforming a Raspberry Pi microcomputer into a working digital camera. The second day will allow the girls to use the cameras in the real world. They will venture into local neighborhoods to capture photos that represent a stanza of the poem, “I Am The World” by Dora Sigerson Shorter.

As the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, we believe in the value of collaboration, and we believe that with more diversity can come more innovation. We value diversity, inclusion, and equality of voices, not just at Red Hat, but in the broader technology industry. We believe that one way to help achieve this is by empowering the younger generation and introducing girls to the possibilities of STEAM careers and this exciting industry.

To bring CO.LAB to life we are collaborating with key organizations including Duke University; Engineering for Change; Girls Inc.; Howard University; New York Department of Education; North Carolina State University College of Education; Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation (OSPRI); Wake County Public School System; and Yellow Dog Bread Company.

This experience kicks off in mid-October, the dates and locations for CO.LAB stops are:

  • Oct. 17-18: New York City, Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria
  • Oct. 24-25: Washington, D.C., Howard University campus
  • Nov. 1-2: Raleigh, North Carolina State University campus

Now part of Red Hat’s Open Source Stories initiative, CO.LAB is the latest Red Hat effort to highlight and share stories about how openness can be a catalyst for change. Red Hat has championed communities - both big and small - as we strive to build innovative technologies. And now, with Open Source Stories, we are sharing what happens when people defy convention and say to the world: “Take this. Build on it. Make it better.”​

Follow along with the CO.LAB initiative via www.redhat.com/colab and social media via #RedHatCOLAB and #opensourcestories. For more information about Open Source Stories, visit https://www.redhat.com/en/open-source-stories.

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