ESU computer science majors are looking to help bridge the gender gap in technology with their Girls Who Code club.
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization partnered with ESU that encourages girls to pursue their interests in computer science and other related fields.
“The idea with Girls Who Code isn’t necessarily that we make them master programmers,” said senior Melissa Schneider who helps run the club. “Instead, we are going to expose them to an overview of what computer science is. The goal is to find something they are interested in.”
According to the Girls Who Code website, fewer than 1 in 5 Computer Science graduates are women. The site reveals that many girls are interested in computer science early on but become less interested in age thirteen.
Girls Who Code aims to reignite their interests by providing free afterschool sessions to girls in grades six to 12. These sessions will introduce them to the basics of computer science and coding using curriculum designed by the official Girls Who Code organization.
“A lot of girls join the program but drop out by the time they get halfway through it and it’s looking like there’s going to be fewer girls as time goes on if something isn’t done about it now,” Schneider said. “Girls are afraid to fail and boys are encouraged to try. If we have more girls, it means more diversity and more well-rounded approaches. It offers a new perspective.”
According to the Girls Who Code website, less than 5 percent of women graduate with degrees in computer science and for women of color, it’s less than 3 percent.
“There are not many women in computer science programs,” said Dr. Eun-Joo Lee, advisor to Girls Who Code and computer science professor. “We just started the Girls Who Code club three years ago and we hope that the graduates of the program will choose a computer science major when they start choosing colleges.”
Girls Who Code claims that with completion of the program, young women are choosing computer science or a related field as their major 15 times the national average.
The organization continues to grow as more and more leading corporations support the program including Uber, Apple, Amazon, Sephora, and Microsoft.
There is zero cost to join Girls Who Code. The club will meet every Thurs. beginning Sept. 19 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in room 355 in the Science and Technology Center.
Girls Who Code is completely volunteer-based and relies on its members to keep the program running at ESU and with only around five members, they are looking to expand their team.
If you are interested in how you can help to close the gender gap in technology or are looking to become a member of the Girls Who Code club, please reach out to Melissa Schneider at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Girls Who Code, please visit their website at girlswhocode.com
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