Tones from the TechGYRLS

A few weeks ago, I headed out to the the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh in the historic neighborhood of Homewood to work with young ladies in their TechGYRLS program. My contact there was Verity Auden-Stevens, an AmeriCorps Public Ally, who teaches the girls. We arranged for a May visit to gather ringtone submissions from the girls, and I thought it would be a fun collaboration–an older tech girl (like me) working with some much younger and hipper female techies.

Ms. Auden-Stevens formally describes the program this way: “Developed in 1997 in response to the widening gender gap in exposure to, and interest in, technology, TechGYRLS is a free YWCA of the USA hall-mark after-school program. TechGYRLS increase their interest, confidence, and competence in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), while developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

After a quick Locally Toned intro, the young ladies began brainstorming and practicing their tones, before performing their audio-ideas in front of the microphone as individuals or in groups. And since they are techies, I left behind all the original audio recording files for the young ladies to work on as they like. I also I suggested they upload their work to Myxer so that they can send their very personal tones to their very own phones.

Locally Toned selected three tones from the TechGYRLS recording sessions for distribution through locallytoned.org. The One Two Three Tone–a collaboration contributed by Naukeya, Keshya, Asha, Mykeia–is a spoken word ringtone urging you to pick up your phone quickly. “It’s [an] emergency.”

The second tone is a no-frills Beatbox Tone by Asha. It was performed and recorded to (perhaps) go along with the One Two Three Tone, but I thought it stood up interestingly as simply-made vocal percussion/beatboxing tone.

The final tone comes from my second day at the YWCA–it’s the Ring-a-Ding Ringtone by Markeya, Quinn, and Amira.

Thanks to the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, to Ms. Auden-Stevens, my host, and special thanks to TechGYRL Jazz, my recording assistant on day two. She worked tirelessly for the hour-long recording session helping me to make sure all the recordings high quality!

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