Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation Names Ford Motor Company’s Judy Asher ‘Woman of the Year in Technology’
Ford Motor Company works with several organizations to achieve success in its commitment to STEAM education – encouraging young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Many Ford employees actively participate and volunteer for the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation (MCWT), supporting the mission to make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology.
MCWT strives to inspire and grow the female IT workforce - students, corporate partners, schools and the overall community with networking, learning, mentoring and technology experiences for professionals and students.
Judy Asher is this year’s recipient of MCWT’s “Woman of the Year in Technology” award, which recognizes women in Michigan who are leading or driving change in information technology careers or fields of study. Asher was presented with the award at the nonprofit’s signature gala on Nov. 3 in Rochester, Mich.
Asher is manager of cyber security governance, risk and compliance and security and controls compliance at Ford. She is a passionate advocate for MCWT and its programs – a leader in STEAM initiatives at Ford, and has inspired a multitude of young people to explore related career paths.
She’s been engaged with MCWT for the past 10 years, and is the chief mission officer for university programs. Scholarships, technology camps and programs like Girls Solve IT have gained momentum as a result of her dedication and mentoring.
“I am excited to continue to contribute to the state of Michigan becoming the place where women in technology can thrive,” said Asher.
Jeff Lemmer, Ford Motor Company vice president and CIO, said "It’s an honor to see Judy recognized as a leader driving inspiration and education for women in the field of technology. Her work with MCWT and Ford’s STEAM Experience programs are strengthening our community to inspire the hearts and developing minds for the next generation.”
For more information go to www.mcwt.org
April 4, 2019
This past October, Ford Motor Company hosted Karlie Kloss and a group of Kode with Klossy scholars for a day of coding and inspiration from Ford’s women in tech, at the new Ford Corktown Office in downtown Detroit.
The Ford engineers, along with Karlie and the Kode With Klossy team worked with the girls and helped open their eyes to the possibilities of a career in STEAM. Throughout the day, the scholars participated in a series of challenges in areas like robotics, programming and VR. At the end of the day, the girls heard from a panel of female Ford engineers and executive leaders who encouraged the scholars to pursue their passions in tech.
“As a female leader in mobility at Ford Motor Company, it is important to share my experience with young girls interested in a STEAM career,” Marcy Klevorn, Executive Vice President and President of Mobility at Ford Motor Company. “Each scholar was so passionate and engaged throughout the day, and I can’t wait to see what their futures hold.”
Along with the scholar experience day in Detroit, Ford collaborated with Omaze on a social campaign to raise funds for Kode with Klossy. Through the campaign, Omaze site visitors were given the opportunity to donate to the coding camps in exchange for a sweepstakes entry for a chance to win a 2019 Ford Mustang. The winner, chosen at random, will be flown out to Detroit in April of this year to tour the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and discuss how they plan to personalize their new Mustang, over lunch, with Karlie Kloss.
As a result of the funds raised from the Omaze campaign and Ford's sponsorship, the 2019 Kode With Klossy camp scholarships, helping nearly 1,000 young women across the 16 listed cities, as well as providing a significant investment in teacher training and curriculum.
Kode With Klossy empowers girls to learn to code and become leaders in tech. Founded in 2015, when Karlie Kloss began learning to code, Kode With Klossy hosts summer coding camps for girls aged 13–18 and fosters a national community, furthering opportunities for girls in tech. Kode With Klossy and Ford Steam Experience are both committed to empowering girls to pursue their passions in STEAM. That’s why Ford was so excited to help expand the Kode With Klossy summer coding camps, through a multi-year partnership—strengthening abilities, boosting confidence and empowering each girl to create her own future.
November 9, 2018
Ford Motor Company hosted the second annual STEAM Day – showcasing the company’s commitment to STEAM education – encouraging today’s youth to learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
As part of Ford’s commitment to STEAM, the Ford STEAM Council, which designs, develops and delivers programs to grow a talent pipeline for Ford, held the STEAM Day fair on November 9 at the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn, Mich.
The event is designed to help increase employee awareness and reinforce the importance of these technological fields and education, as well as encourage more employees to get involved and be ambassadors for Ford’s efforts to become a global thought leader in STEAM.
Ford Next Generation Learning – with a specific mission to transform teaching and learning, primarily through changing the relationship schools have with businesses – was one of many organizations in attendance at the fair, working to showcase their work in STEAM education and how it can be improved.
“To borrow an old phrase, it takes a village,” said Beth Grzelak, coach for Ford NGL. “We need more people that have these technical backgrounds and interest to do this kind of work, so if students, teachers and schools are surrounded by it and have the resources, it can only help.”
The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation also attended this year’s STEAM Day – with their mission to grow and inspire girls and women in technology fields. Chris Rydzewski, executive director of MCWT, said one of the challenges is the lack of women in these fields – only 24 percent in technology. Her organization’s goal is to stop the mindset that young girls don’t want to get into STEAM fields by helping them have a better understanding of what STEAM is, what it entails and how fun it can be.
“The future is technology, it’s all about STEAM, we need to work on getting more people interested, and events like this are a perfect way to do that,” Rydzewski said. “This shows our support for Ford and also helps us with engagement.”
Prashant Javkar, strategy and programs manager for Ford’s corporate STEAM team, said Ford’s investment in STEAM education and programs is crucial in order to fill the large gap between STEAM talent needs of the future and the skilled workforce currently available. Ford’s outreach with events like this also helps give the company an opportunity to learn more about the community.
November 06, 2018
Thanks to the High School Science and Technology Program (HSSTP), Sarah Makki is currently doing a work-study program with the calibration team for 2liter, while completing her bachelor’s degree in Robotics Engineering at the University of Michigan Dearborn.
Makki attended the HSSTP Saturday sessions, and from there was hired as a summer intern at Ford, where she was able to facilitate experiments and contribute to research that helped open her eyes to the possibilities at Ford.
“I love working at Ford, and the high school internship was eye-opening,” she said. “The program helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses and all of the possibilities at Ford.”
The student said her experiences with HSSTP and Ford also helped her narrow down what she wanted to study, as well as what she would need in order to do that. Additionally, it helped her see the possibilities beyond school – showing her what’s out there after graduation.
“I want to do something cool and make something that really changes mobility, and I have realized through my experience here that I can definitely do that at Ford,” Makki said.
The goal of HSSTP is to give student participants valuable insights into real-life applications of the skills learned in classrooms, while also giving Ford a chance to promote science and engineering and encouraging students to consider new career options.
“For over 30 years, the program has given students the opportunity to spend time on the Ford campus in Dearborn, while meeting with scientists, engineers and technicians to see how science and engineering can have real-world applications,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, research and advanced engineering.
About 200 students attend presentations by Ford employees who volunteer their time each year.
April 28, 2017
Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) is increasing the scope of its 2017 summer Design
Thinking workshops to serve more K-20 educators and meet the demand for
continued professional growth opportunities for past participants.
All of HFLI’s 2017 summer workshops for educators are held in dynamic
learning spaces and focus on developing capacity for innovation through Design
Thinking, a human-centered creative problem solving process:
-Introduction to Design Thinking for Educators, July 12-14, Detroit, Michigan
-Innovation Collaborative for Design Thinking, July 17-18, Detroit, Michigan
-Innovation Leaders, July 20-21, Detroit, Michigan
-Introduction to Design Thinking for Educators, Aug. 7-9, San Antonio, Texas
“The skills, mindsets, and processes in Design Thinking are being called for in
Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards – and
they are highly sought after by top employers,” said Deborah Parizek, Executive
Director of Henry Ford Learning Institute. “HFLI’s immersive workshops inspire
and build an educator’s capacity to provide Design Thinking experiences for
students, develop a culture of innovation, and lead innovation in their K-20
“I left my HFLI workshop feeling invigorated and excited about the possibilities
that this mindset and process bring to my practice,” said Elizabeth Joyner,
STEM Learning and Innovation Specialist at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in
Suffolk, Virginia, and a 2016 HFLI Introduction to Design Thinking for Educators
participant. “Since then I have facilitated the Design Thinking process for a
variety of projects at my school and with faculty across disciplines. The
difference in student engagement is staggering; students who tend to be
passive have found their voices and are beginning to actualize their potential
right in front of my eyes. Our next step is to have students use the Design
Thinking process to explore and address practical problems for stakeholders in
our learning communities. “
For the first time, HFLI will offer its popular Introduction to Design Thinking for
Educators workshop in San Antonio, Texas. This experience helps teachers and
other school leaders learn how this creative problem solving process can be
used to engage students in challenging projects that foster innovation and
In Detroit, HFLI’s summer professional development opportunities will again
include Introduction to Design Thinking for Educators and Innovation
Collaborative for Design Thinking workshops. For the first time, HFLI will offer
Innovation Leaders, an immersive experience created for educators and
administrators who want to develop skills and techniques to lead innovation
with empathy; participants will work together to identify opportunities for
change in their schools and design small-scale prototypes that have the
potential to lead to big-scale change.
Ninety-seven percent of past HFLI workshop participants report that they
would recommend the experience to a colleague.
March 10, 2017
As part of the commitment Ford Motor Company made to STEAM education, the company is investing in the next generation of automakers – engineers, technicians, scientists, designers and innovators.
In the last five years, Ford has invested over 63 million dollars in education-related programs. The goal of the Ford STEAM experience is to serve as a learning and sharing hub that makes STEAM education more accessible to American youth.
On January 30, Vice President of information technology and chief information officer at Ford, Marcy Klevorn, visited second-grade students at Detroit Country Day Lower School, to educate them on STEAM fields – science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Klevorn explained how Ford employees tackle problems to improve people’s lives.
“At a time when the need for STEAM careers is rising, the supply for those roles is not,” Klevorn said. “That’s why it’s important for us to get these children excited about being in those roles, so they can start thinking about what’s possible for them in the future.”
The students learned about the FordPass app™ – a total customer experience that is designed to improve people’s lives as they navigate through cities, find parking available in select cities, use their phones for vehicle information and more. They were also given the opportunity to get an inside look at a Ford vehicle that uses the FordPass app, exploring how the app is designed to work in conjunction with the vehicle.
Klevorn introduced them to the team of Ford employees who work on the app, from its design to data. Those team members also helped the students brainstorm and create ideas for robotics projects they’re working on in school. Enabling the students to have discussions with the people who do these jobs every day gives them a clearer picture of the possibilities for their own futures.
“Our ultimate goal is to inspire interest in technology and innovation which is not only critical to Ford, but also the world’s future development,” said Klevorn. “By supporting education in these areas, we’re creating opportunities connecting the company and its employees directly with youth and the community-at-large.”
Jennifer Bullock, Detroit Country Day Lower School director said the presentation with Ford was very much in line with the school’s commitment to educating their students about STEAM fields. She and her staff believe that instead of asking students what specific careers they may want in their futures, they should be asking what problems they want to solve.
“The Ford team taught the children about how they work in teams to solve problems, and that many innovations are the result of lots of trial and error,” Bullock said. “They enjoyed learning about the industry’s progress toward autonomous vehicles, and current technology at Ford where cars and drivers communicate with each other.”