TWIST EPIC Awards and Mentorship Program
TWIST EPIC Awards is open for nominations!!
The EPIC Awards Ceremony will be held in the afternoon on Friday, October 25th, 2019 in Target Plaza Commons. To nominate someone, please complete the Official EPIC Nomination form. If you are nominating yourself, you need to provide a letter of recommendation from someone else when you submit your nomination form. If you are nominating someone else, your nomination serves as the letter of recommendation. The nominee will be emailed to complete her portion of the nomination form.
Nominations will close on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 11:59 CT. Please email TWIST.EPIC@target.com if you have any questions. Winners will be announced and notified on or before October 3.
TWIST EPIC Awards
Target Women in Science & Technology (TWIST) is an organization within Target Technology Services that hosts several events each year. These events range from internal team member networking to external events and programs such as Science & Technology Day, Girl Scouts Day, Summer Job Shadow Day, and others with the goal to proactively spark an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. TWIST’s mission is to foster connections, inspiration, and knowledge-sharing to help women in STEM grow to their full potential.
TWIST EPIC Awards began in 2017 as a program to support local schools and organizations in the community and to encourage girls to celebrate their achievements in STEM. The TWIST EPIC Awards recognize and honor 25 high school girls from the Twin Cities for their dedication to STEM. These young women demonstrate engagement, passion, innovation, and curiosity (EPIC) within these fields and TWIST encourages them to continue pursuing this path.
Here’s how it works…
TWIST sends out email communications and flyers to Minneapolis, St. Paul, and surrounding metro schools and external partnerships in early April to announce the nominations are open. In late September, nominations close and the TWIST EPIC Committee judges the nominations. Judging is a rigorous process. First, we scrub every application of identifying attributes or affiliations (i.e. nominee’s name, school, etc.). We post all the anonymized applications to a Target (internal-only) page where the page number is a unique digit mapped to the nominee’s information. Judges are then assigned one to many nominations to read, and each nomination is read by 3 or more judges. We judge based off a rubric with the EPIC criteria. Once the judging period closes (usually a week), the judges come together and select the top 25 girls, with each judge speaking on behalf of the nominees they believe should be selected. It is a lengthy process due to the depth of talented nominations we receive.
How to nominate…
Teachers, extracurricular group leaders, community members, and parents nominate students that embody the EPIC keywords. When a girl is nominated by one of these or by someone else, she will be prompted to complete a portion on the application. The nomination by others counts as a letter of recommendation. Additionally, eligible students may nominate themselves by filling out the nomination form and attaching a letter of recommendation.
The 25 winners are invited to an award ceremony with up to three guests, e.g. parents, guardians, or educators. The event is held at Target Plaza Commons at Target HQ in downtown Minneapolis, MN. To encourage personal growth and build meaningful experiences, each selected student receives a certificate of recognition presented by Target’s CIO, Mike McNamara, a bag filled with cool Target swag, the opportunity to participate in TWIST Science & Tech Day, mentorship from a Target team member, and other “Target Opportunities” as an ongoing effort to evolve our talent pipeline.
Image: 2018 EPIC Award winners posing for a picture with Mike McNamara, Target’s CIO, and Nancy King, VP of Technology at Target.
Since it began in 2017, TWIST has focused on transforming EPIC Awards into an awards and mentorship program where the winners receive opportunities to return to Target to learn about the work we do and get hands-on experience in a corporate setting.
Mentorship is one way in which the winners have ongoing exposure to the work we do at Target. Team members make a commitment to mentorship when applying to be a mentor. They agree to attend the awards ceremony to meet their mentee and commit to at least one 30-minute conversation once per month for the first three months after the awards program. The mentor is highly encouraged to provide an on-site job shadow. We provide the mentors with a toolkit, giving ideas on what to talk about or what to do in an on-site job shadow.
In addition to the mentorship, we offer a few day-long and half-day events where we invite former EPIC Award winners back to Target HQ to learn more about STEM careers. The TWIST EPIC Hack-a-thon is a day-long event held in Target’s City Center Dojo where we teach the EPIC Awardees our development methodology and how to write an API. [lick here to read more]. On the TWIST Summer Tour, the girls get to see how Target’s Owned Brand division evaluates, tests, and approves Owned Brand food products (e.g. Market Pantry, Archer Farms, Simply Balanced); they get to see the Target Lights that light up the Minneapolis skyline; and they get to explore Target’s SmartBuildings Labs. We invite the TWIST EPIC Awardees to the TWIST Summer Job Shadow Day as well! We will continue to add new offerings through the EPIC Awards and Mentorship. Please consider nominating today!
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2019 EPIC Awards Official Announcement Flyer
Tarah Cleveland is a technical product owner working in Supply Chain Technologies at Target. In addition to driving innovative technology solutions at Target, Tarah is passionate about attracting new talent to STEM and advancing women in STEM. She is a member of the TWIST steering committee as well as Target’s Technology Diversity Action Committee.