Girls in 6th-12th grades are invited to join a free “Girls Who Code” club hosted by Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at UArizona. This year the club will meet online, so girls anywhere can join. “Students with all levels of coding experience are welcome, though the program is designed as a first introduction to coding,” explained Amanda Bertsch, the Lead Facilitator of the club.
Girls Who Code is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the tech gender gap with more than 8,500 club chapters in the United States, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. The UArizona Girls Who Code club aims to spark girls’ interest in technology careers. But the program can enrich students regardless of their professional goals.
“Computer science skills are incredibly valuable— whether you want to be a programmer or a scientist or an artist selling your own work,” said Bertsch. The club has led some students to big opportunities in technology and research.
“This summer I worked with researchers at the University of Maryland to develop a neural network,” said Portia Cooper, an 11th grader at Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning, who was selected to participate in a competitive, national AI program.
“I joined Girls Who Code when I was 12, and I found out that I love coding. I kept coding on my own and took programming classes,” said Cooper, who now volunteers at the club.
Through Girls Who Code, Bertsch hopes to give students early exposure to tech skills. “I was lucky enough to grow up with computer science as a part of my life; my mother is a software engineer and introduced me to coding at an early age,” said Bertsch. “I think everyone deserves access to the kind of resources that I had.”
An online Open House for the club will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon and can be joined at http://bit.ly/ua-gwc-meeting . If possible, students and their parents should join the meeting from different devices, as separate activities are planned.
Bertsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions about the club.