During 2020, the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM), a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women and girls in music production and the recording arts, delivered creative technology training to more than 4,000 women, girls and gender-expansive individuals all over the globe, proving that a worldwide pandemic can’t stop curiosity. WAM’s online programming, which served an audience throughout the US and in more than 30 countries, featured top music technologists and engineers that have worked with musicians, including Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe and Selena Gomez.
At a time when many organizations were scrambling to serve their audiences, WAM pivoted quickly, launching WAM Everywhere, bringing their award-winning training programs online. And, as the public was sheltering in place because of COVID-19, WAM launched Girls on the Mic (GOTM) Virtual Training, which provided free training five days a week.
Through WAM’s new online distance learning infrastructure and its revamped website, the organization has provided 4,025 women, girls and gender non-confirming individuals with free, virtual creative technology, STEM training and mentoring during a very challenging time. This included providing 3,010 girls from underserved populations (96% low-income and 92% from various racial and ethnic backgrounds) with free GOTM Virtual Training. WAM also provided more than 1,000 women and gender-nonconforming individuals with virtual creative STEM training and mentorship and provided virtual paid internships to 20 individuals with training, mentorship and career counseling.
According to one intern, “WAM has given me the resources I need to show up in my professional life with confidence. This cohort of interns feels like family. It’s easily one of the highlights of my life.”
This year, WAM plans to finish creating the technology infrastructure and foundation for WAM Everywhere, which involves developing an innovative e-learning environment that is mobile-responsive, doesn’t require a special device or software and uses video, animations and quizzes to engage learners, enabling WAM to reach women and girls all over the world. Even as the world transitions back to in-person activities, WAM plans to integrate virtual and online elements into their in-person classes to create an improved, blended STEM learning experience.
According to the organization, thanks to the support it received from the Society for Science STEM Action Grant program, WAM Everywhere, is expected to reach 10,000-12,000 girls in 2021. They also plan to create a model that can be scaled across California and beyond. WAM shared that one of unexpected lessons they learned in 2020 was that there is a global and nationwide demand for their programming – much more than they anticipated. With that in mind, in 2021, WAM plans to migrate its award-winning Girls on the Mic curriculum fully online, expand its live online classes to reach more than 4,000 adult students, expand online mentorship to include more than 140 hours of mentoring, host a virtual conference and expand its virtual internship program!
Only a half year in and 2021 looks to be shaping up to be an exciting year for WAM.