Gabi’s success stems from STEM

Senior Gabi Abraham set a record when she completed all seven levels of IT classes


Maddie Cooke

Abraham believes the lack of females in tech classes comes from inadequate encouragement and advertisement towards younger girls. “These classes should be more showcased to females and proceed at a younger age,” Abraham said.

By Maddie Cooke, Multimedia Editor

Tigard High has offered an IT program since 2007. However, Senior Gabi Abraham is the first female to complete all of the IT classes (levels one through seven). Although IT has developed into a lifelong passion, Abraham originally stumbled on to the career path by mistake.

“When I was forecasting for classes, I needed an alternate and I didn’t know what to pick. My mom made me choose Web Design, and I ended up really liking it,” she said. “Honestly, I think it’s crazy that I am the first girl to finish all of the IT courses throughout the whole time it has existed at Tigard.”

As a strong supporter and mother to Gabi, Darcie Abraham feels excited for her daughter’s future with her experience from all of her tech classes.

“She has signed up for every tech class since, and  can’t even keep track of her certifications,” she said. “STEM will appear in almost any career she chooses, from fashion to sales. The options are endless. These classes involve curiosity and problem solving, which are great skills when developed in her youth.”

Aside from developing these skills and earning her certificates, Darcie believes that Gabi stands as a role model to many of her peers because of her confidence and grace through her involvement in tech classes.

“Gabi is not afraid to be unique. She is always trying new things and is not afraid to get out of her comfort zones, she learns from her mistakes,” she said. “I know I have learned a few things in my own life watching her grow up to be this fantastic person.”

Abraham got more intrigued by STEM classes after she learned the basics for coding, and she has enjoyed the variety of classes that Tigard offers.

“In Web Design, I learned the basics for coding and design elements with it, which made me super intrigued,” Abraham said. “I am in my third CAD class with 3D printing, and I am also in Computer Science where I’m learning more in-depth coding.”

In Digital Design Fabrication 2, she has been interviewing preschoolers in the Tigard school district about a toy they would like to have made. Overall, Abraham enjoys the hands-on aspect of her tech classes.

“I look forward to using the results from the kids so we can create something that they would like to play with,” Abraham said. “From the professional certifications to the variety of STEM classes offered, I feel really prepared for my future. All of the things I have done to build my resume and abilities will be extremely beneficial for my career.”

I think I have grown immune to the lack of female representation in most tech classes, but it is definitely something that was and continues to be awkward

— Gabi Abraham

Abraham experienced some problems with her IT classes in the beginning. After taking several more classes following her passion to learn more, she became more aware of her strengths and weaknesses.

“Naturally, IT is really independent based. At first, I struggled with managing my own tasks and responsibilities. The workload often felt like a lot, and I was usually drained and somewhat frustrated,” Abraham said. “I eventually learned how to manage it, and I started to connect with other people who helped me through it and I have grown a lot from that.”

Following Abraham’s passion for tech is her interest in fashion and modeling. One of her inspirations is Karlie Kloss, who is a supermodel and coder. Abraham admires Kloss and her ability to balance both passions.

“Karlie Kloss is one of my top role models.She inspires many other girls like me, and she even has a camp called Kode with Klossy, where high school girls have the opportunity to learn more about coding and technology,” Abraham said. “I am really interested in the fashion and tech world, so I really admire how she balances the two things I really love in an efficient and productive way.”

An important mentor to Abraham is Mr. Fulton, who teaches Computer Science courses at Tigard.

“Mr. Fulton here at Tigard has helped me a lot. With all of the IT classes there are certifications that can come with the completion of the course, and he has been a huge help with the getting grants to reduce the costs for us,” Abraham said. “I feel really qualified for a job right now, and he has helped me with many other opportunities that I wouldn’t have had without him.”

It is usual for Abraham to be the one of the only girls in her classes, and this is something she has become used to.

“I think I have grown immune to the lack of female representation in most tech classes, but it is definitely something that was and continues to be awkward,” she said. “The ratio for an IT class is generally really small for females. I’ve seen a very slow progression of girls getting enrolled into those types of classes.”

She believes that females having a lack of representation in tech classes comes from inadequate encouragement and advertisement of this career path for younger girls.

“These classes should be more showcased to females and promoted at a younger age,” Abraham said. “I know that we are required to take a certain amount of science classes, but I think the idea of a STEM career or technical science needs to be presented more to them.”

Aside from her technological pursuits, Abraham also uses much of her time volunteering, working in retail and fashion-modelling. As an engaged student and model, Abraham credits much of her management to her naturally calm personality.

“I feel like I have always been a very calm person, which works really well with my busy and somewhat stressful schedule,” she said. “Working with computers can be frustrating and time consuming, but I try to keep a positive mindset and attitude.”

Abraham volunteers and works with the organization Chicktech, where she helps plan events. This is one way Abraham tries to improve the awareness of technology for younger girls and kids.

“I really enjoy working with Chicktech because our main focus is to work with younger kids and to encourage them to consider a career in a technology based field,” Abraham said. “Recently, I helped organize a tech family night to introduce the young kindergartners and parents to the different fields and how it is fun.”

Abraham plans on attending Portland State University next year to major in Computer Science. She hopes to learn more about career paths and the possibilities that follow her major.

Mr. Fulton hopes that Gabi will act as a role-model to other girls, and that they will consider taking the courses that she took.

“Whenever I look at the small portion of girls who are in my class, I am really proud and excited that they are among the many students in my class who leave with certificates that will set them above everyone else,” Fulton said. “Gabi has been a great student in class, and I know she will have a lot of success in the future from all of her preparation in high school.”