Girls crack the code

By: Annie Sragner, Associate Arts & Life Editor

This past summer provided a unique opportunity for the computer-loving women students in the Towson area. The new club called “Girls Who Code” aims to uncover the world of computer science for young women.

“TU Girls Who Code seeks to provide young women the opportunity to be exposed to computer science education in a fun way that will provide technical skills for futures in technology,” manager of the Education Innovation Lab Wendy Gibson said.

Meetings of Girls Who Code incorporated skill instruction of programming fundamentals such as web development, robotics, cryptography, game design, artificial intelligence, web design and mobile development.

TU Girls Who Code teamed up with Howard County Girls Who Code, who provided the curriculum for the Towson program.

The 40-hour curriculum was, “project-based and designed to teach a wide range of skill sets through multilevel content. Girls work on projects individually and then in pairs giving feedback on the various modules,” Gibson said.

The national nonprofit organization, “Girls Who Code” works to cultivate interest in young girls toward STEM-oriented fields of study, and to close the gender gap in career fields of technology.

“TU Girls Who Code seeks to expose young women to the possibility of careers in technology. It is estimated that by 2020, 1.4 million jobs will be available in computing-related fields but only 3 percent are expected to be filled by women,” Gibson said.

Girls Who Code aims to provide one million young girls with computer science education and exposure by 2020. The club also intends to increase female representation in AP test taking, college graduation, technical and computing fields.

According to their team description, “Girls Who Code has engaged a network of experts in technology, education, entrepreneurship and engineering to advise the organization and support its work to empower young women to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering.”

In 2012, founder Reshma Saujani, also the first South Asian woman to run for Congress, started Girls Who Code in New York City. The organization has served over 3,860 girls in 29 states during its 3 years of development. Girls Who Code offered club meetings over the summer on Monday and Wednesday afternoons in Hawkins Hall from July 6 to August 12.

These meetings brought together middle school and high school girls from Baltimore County Public Schools and local private schools.For more information about this club and other initiatives to increase female participation in STEM subjects in the Towson area, contact The Education Innovation Lab at coe110@towson.edu

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