New club offers opportunity for girls interested in computer programming

By Carolyn Perlmutter | Editor in Chief

IMG_0332.JPGGirls Who Code is a new club at Pearce dedicated to getting more girls interested in computer science. Girls Who Code focuses on a variety of topics in computer programming based on what the girls are most interested in learning.

“The purpose of Girls Who Code is to get more girls into technology,” Girls Who Code club sponsor Jerry Newman said.

The club is open to all Pearce students but focuses primarily on recruiting young women to become more interested in computing.

“Mr. Bates was talking about it before he hired me and hoped I would lead the charge,” Mr. Newman said. “I hadn’t heard of it before but am glad to help out.”

The members of Girls Who Code club have varying degrees of experience in computer coding.

“Despite my inexperience in coding, I was welcomed most graciously,” Girls Who Code club member Elizabeth Shook said.

The club will teach basic computer science, game programming, java scrip programming and whatever else is requested.

“We will begin with different classes for girls online,” Mr. Newman said. “We have so many different interests and skill levels. Girls will go on their own path of what they want to learn and at their own speed.”

In addition to offering access to online classes, the club will bring in speakers, and the more experienced girls will have the opportunity to enter computer science competitions late in the year.

“I want to get more girls to try coding and creating cool things,” Girls Who Code club president Hannah Wetterau said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 25 percent of the computer and mathematical sciences workforce is made up of women, and just 13 percent of engineers are women.

“Hopefully Girls Who Code will impact Pearce positively,” Mr. Newman said. “If we get one or two more girls interested in technology, we did our job.”

In a study by the Harris Interactive for the American Society for Quality, only 10 percent of girls said that their parents had encouraged them to consider a career in engineering.

A study by the National Center for Women and Technology found a larger representation of girls taking the AP Calculus test than the AP Computer Science exam. Even though 46 percent of students taking the AP Calculus tests are girls, only 19 percent of AP Computer Science test-takers are girls.

“I took AP Computer Science last year,” Hannah said. “There were only three girls in the class, which is something I would like to change.”

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Categories: Features

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