By Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi
A group of coders in the Jamesville-DeWitt School District are working their way to equality. Girls from both J-D Middle School and High School joined forces to form J-D’s branch of the girls-only club, Girls Who Code.
Every Tuesday, two students from Le Moyne College monitor the members of the club from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the high school. During the two hours of instruction, the girls do multiple skill building code activities which they find on the club’s website, girlswhocode.com. Girls from both the Jamesville-Dewitt middle school and high school are welcome to join.
The girls meet in Computer Science teacher Jay Lang’s classroom, but are advised by Librarian Mary Panek. “Boys are the majority of coders in the world, so this is a chance for girls to have an outlet and expand their knowledge,” said Ms. Panek. “This club helps fill in the gender gap within the computer-science field and to hopefully help girls get more involved with coding,” says senior Rebecca Shen, who is an involved member in the Girls Who Code club. Another member, sophomore Sonali Patel, wanted to take the computer science elective, however it didn’t fit into her busy schedule. Girls Who Code was “the perfect opportunity,” for her to learn the coding technique. “I like that I can learn a new code every week and feel accomplished when I’m done with a lesson,” says Patel.
After being suggested multiple times, the club finally came to J-DHS after a J-DMS parent, whose daughter has an interest in computer science, brought the club to Principal Paul Gasparini’s attention. This was not the first time the suggestion for the club has been made according to Mr. Gasparini. “I was also contacted (earlier this year) by a JD graduate about a program called Code Like a Girl,” said Mr. Gasparini. Because of a common interest among multiple students, he decided this would be a good club to have at the high school. The J-DMS parent put him in contact with two monitors, and the club held its first meeting this January.
The worldwide coding club, Girls Who Code, founded by CEO Reshma Saujani in New York City. The main goal of the program is to train and encourage young women in the computer science field and to encourage women to learn and become successful in the future. To achieve this goal, the members of the club come together and do activities and games on computers and websites that help advance their coding skills. As it has stemmed and spread across the globe, it’s goal of empowering women has slowly but surely been successful.
The twenty first century job field will continue to have a high demand for engineers as computer-science and technology becomes more important in today’s society. In the male dominated computer science field, women are fighting to break the barrier.