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Monday, June 21, 2021

Ariel Crawley, a Community Champion Encouraging Women to Enter Tech Careers

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When Ariel Crawley moved to Indianapolis her freshman year of high school from Austin, Texas, she wanted to move back to Texas immediately because five inches of snow had just fallen across central Indiana. In spite of the weather, her family stayed and Crawley graduated from Pike High School in 2004.
“I had a great experience at Pike,” shares Crawley, who was a member of Key Club, student council, and the speech team. “I took part of all the nerdy stuff.”
Crawley spent two years at Indiana University in Bloomington where she majored in general studies before wanting to spread her fledgling adult wings and moved to Atlanta, and then Chicago, before moving back to Indianapolis. This gap in her education helped Crawley with her people skills and forced her to grow up quickly.
“There’s nothing like experimenting with adulting to help you realize the value of an education,” says Crawley, who enrolled in classes at Ivy Tech Community College while she raised her daughter. She lived with her daughter’s grandmother for three years while she finished her general studies degree at Ivy Tech and worked for Chip Ganassi Racing helping with sponsorships and served as receptionist.
“I think they hired me because I didn’t know anything about racing and they found this refreshing,” confesses Crawley, who has since become a fan of the sport. Wanting to earn a degree in business management, Crawley enrolled in night school with Indiana Wesleyan University.
Realizing that she loved education, Crawley applied and worked with Ivy Tech for eight years. She worked in a variety of capacities, including keeping social media messaging on point, community outreach, summer camps, logistics, operations, and worked within the Student Success department as assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The last three of those years, Crawley built the IvyWorks @IWiT program within Ivy Tech.
“I have had some of the best mentors,” says Crawley, who says she thrives when allowed to explore her creativity.
Crawley was offered an ideal position directly with Indy Women in Tech (IWiT) as Director of Community Engagement. In her new role, Crowley engages with women wishing to transform their life by entering into the tech field. She helps bridge gaps to ensure a successful path for these women. IWiT creates a community for women in tech, and provides mentorship in addition to financial support.
“It can seem daunting to enter into a male dominated field,” says Crawley. “And when a woman needs help with transportation, or is involved in a domestic violence situation or needs diapers for their child, we want to help fill in these gaps.”
Since its launch in 2016, the IWiT Foundation has used seed capital, donations and earnings from various fundraisers and partnered with organizations like Eleven Fifty Academy, Ivy Tech, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, and TechPoint to invest in programs that have trained and mentored 188 women in tech careers.
IWiT hosts events that have promoted Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs to more than 5,500 elementary, middle and high school students, including robotics programs that reach over 18,829 students across the state.
IWiT is working with Eleven Fifty Academy collecting data on how IWiT programs help women. Twenty-five percent of Eleven Fifty Academy students are single mothers who may need childcare assistance. Both organizations are teaming up to go after grants to help eliminate barriers.
Crawley, who recently celebrated her one year anniversary with IWiT, loves everything about her job: her personal purpose and her job align. She gets to do everything she wants to do, and the best part is seeing how the efforts of IWiT help other people.
“One of my favorite phrases is, ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”, and that’s what we are doing,” shares Crawley, who recently participated in the Indy Women in Tech Town Hall Series.
In honor of National Women’s Month, IWiT is partnering with Eleven Fifty Academy to celebrate women in tech throughout the month of March. To learn more about IWiT, please visit  https://www.indywit.com

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