In a traditionally male-dominated industry, finding role models in I.T. for young women can be a challenge. To help address this issue, Calvin College has launched a local chapter of Girls Who Code
, a national organization created to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors and with a stated mission to "educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields."
Dr. Joel Adams, a professor in Calvin College's Computer Science department, says having a local chapter is a big opportunity for the West Michigan technology community to take a leadership role in developing a more diverse workforce of software professionals. "If you (or a girl you know) are interested in learning about how technology works, and getting to know other girls with similar interests, this group is for you," says Adams. "Each meeting will include some social time and some learn-about-technology time."
Adams says the program is designed around project-based activities, during which the girls will learn how to create real-world software programs, including mobile apps and games. "There is also an end-of-year project in which you can design and build a software system that will make a difference for someone in your local community," he says.
Dr. Adams says the group will meet each week on Monday evenings from 6-8 pm, starting on January 12, 2015. The meetings will take place in room 337 in Calvin's Science Building. Any girl in grades 6-12 is welcome, and it is free.
Dr. Adams credits a trio of women for leading the way in getting the program launched: "Two outstanding young women, Ruth Holtrop and Heather Bremer (both of whom work at Open Systems Technologies here in GR) will be the instructors, and are in the process of creating a web page for the group. Thanks to them for taking this on. And special thanks go to Camille Emig who took the initiative to complete the application process needed to create this Girls Who Code chapter."
To register for the chapter, you click on the link here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor