NJ Students Show Off Girls Who Code Projects
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A college in New Jersey hosted 300-plus girls this week for an inaugural coding challenge. The New Jersey Institute of Technology invited in middle and high schoolers from 25 schools to participate in a first-ever coding-based competition. All are part of after-school "Girls Who Code" clubs.
During the event, students presented their "impact projects," projects undertaken by individual clubs to come up with new product designs, including phone apps, websites and robotics.
Girls Who Code, whose mission statement is, "building the largest pipeline of future female engineers in the United States," bring members together to develop their coding skills. The organization provides free curriculum and support, including meeting guides and self-guided tutorials. Girls Who Code estimates that it has reached almost 185,000 girls nationally through its programs since its founding in 2012. According to the nonprofit, girls who participate in the clubs declare majors in STEM fields at 15 times the national average.
During the special event, judges evaluated projects based on design and appearance, purpose and social impact and differentiation.
The event drew local and state government officials along with representatives from corporate partners, including Apple, Microsoft and Verizon.
The event was hosted by the Institute's Collaborative for Leadership, Education, and Assessment Research (CLEAR), which runs "STEM for Success," a program that addresses career readiness in K-20.
The Institute also runs a seven-week Girls Who Code summer immersion program. In the course of 300 hours, girls in grades 10 and 11 receive training in web development and design, robotics and mobile development, while also exposing them to what it's like to work in technology from female engineers and entrepreneurs.
"I want to thank Girls Who Code for continuing to bring their vision, energy and resources to our students," said Newark Superintendent of Schools, Roger León, in a statement. "Access to careers of the future starts today, which is why our collaboration with Girls Who Code in Newark is fundamental for our students, families, school district and city as broader commitment to provide a computer science education for every student in our schools."
Last December León announced a partnership between Newark Public Schools and Girls Who Code to establish Girls Who Code clubs in 28 of the district's schools.
"Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in tech and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does," added Tarika Barrett, chief operating officer of the organization. "And our work would not be possible without the support of incredible partners like Newark public schools, who help us bring more girls into computer science education and, ultimately, more young women into the tech workforce."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.