By Megan Nichole Broome
Drones, robots, video games and computers are no match for girl power.
Computer Science is on the rise as a field of study and it’s becoming more common for women to hold key roles in its success. Although women are vital members to this task force, society steeped in traditional gender roles can ignore the significant role women play.
At Girls Who Code Camp, hosted by Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation at the Georgia Highlands College Library, young ladies are encouraged to learn about all the opportunities the Computer Science field has to offer like coding, computer programming, video game design, website development and programming drones.
Designing the future
The Production Team Leader at the website development company SAI Digital, Sarah Tebo, helps teach the inaugural Girls Who Code Camp and described the motivation behind its creation.
“They are learning what’s possible with computers,” Tebo said.
Tebo described that a lot of girls are interested in creating video games and websites, but they have little exposure to it unless they learn it at school. Girls Who Code Camp gives girls who are interested in the field a starting point to get involved, Tebo added.
Darlington student Maya Pandya, age 10, explained that she learned a little bit about coding at school, but Girls Who Code Camp is more detailed.
Coding is the beginning process for computer programming and that is what the girls are learning this week, Tebo explained. Computer programming is not something that can be learned in a week, but coding gives them the foundation for it, she mentioned.
Tebo also emphasized the importance of learning to code for the future.
“Code is going to be part of life going forward,” Tebo said. Knowing how to code gives a leg up on people in fields such as medicine, teaching and even agriculture. People who know how to code have more job opportunities, she added.
Coded in genetics
A lot of the girls at Girls Who Code explained that they are interested in the field of Computer Programming and want to pursue it when they grow up. Some even have family members who work in the field.
Camper Belle Brooks explained that her mother works on computers a lot and her uncle is an Engineer.
Brooks wants to be an architect when she grows up and expressed that her favorite part of Girls Who Code camp is taking ordinary words and making them into an interesting website.
Other girls reached for the clouds when mentioning what they want to be when they grow up.
Sophia Panek, a 9-year-old camper said she wants to build drones for the army when she grows up.
Camper Shriya Garg, age 11, wants to invent something and be a business woman who invests in the stock market, while Amara Howard, age 11, wants to be a Marine Biologist.
Coding is similar to math in a lot of ways, so 9-year-old Milan Howard hopes to be a math teacher when she grows up.
Nonetheless, coding is a very important skill to have with any career the girls choose.
With all this new and exciting technology comes certain vocabulary and skills to know. Girls Who Code teaches girls about the software and programming systems used when coding video games and websites.
The girls are inspired by their favorite foods, activities and family members when building their website, so website themes include theatre, cooking, mythology heroes like Hercules, dolphins, family vacations and even Mind Craft.
The best part is, a large portion of the programming software is completely free.
SCRATCH is one example of free software used for programming video games. Girls Who Code teaches girls how to use this software to make fun and creative video games consisting of flying tacos and pigs with wings.
“We had a guest speaker come in and talk about drones. He talked about how there are all these different things you can do with drones in different industries,” Tebo mentioned.
The girls were taught that someone has to program the drone to perform these tasks and even got to take turns flying the drone, Tebo added.
Campers at Girls Who Code work on their computers with mesmerized looks at the endless possibilities of today’s technology.
The goal for Girls Who Code is to teach young ladies that there are a lot of careers for women in the Computer Science field and that is how many women make their living, explained Tebo.
“That’s not in their coloring books,” Tebo said. This is something that needs to be changed going forward, she added.
Princesses in pretty dresses might be fun characters for kids, but it is important for girls to have strong, independent women as role models in cartoons, coloring books, toys and the media.
Technology is no match for the girl power generated by Girls Who Code.