By the year 2020, it's estimated that only 3 percent of the 1.4 million computer science jobs in the U.S. will be held by women.
The Girls Coding Project wants to change that.
The Girls Coding Project is a two-week learning experience for girls entering the sixth through 12th grades in the fall, organized by WNY STEM, in collaboration with AT&T, Girl Scouts of WNY and SUNY Buffalo State. Sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 17-28 in the SUNY Buffalo State Technology Building, home of the college's computer information systems department.
"AT&T is excited to collaborate with the WNY STEM Hub, SUNY Buffalo State and Girl Scouts of WNY to continue to support the region's only all-girls coding camp, and to build off of its extraordinary success from last year," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T.
This is the second year of this initiative. 2016's It's Your World! Develop It! Powered by AT&T introduced girls to computer coding, and continued into the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017.
Shorenstein said, "We are committed to helping to bridge the gender gap in STEM-related fields by equipping girls with technology literacy and education, and providing opportunities that will empower them with the skills and confidence to compete in the global innovation economy."
The Girls Coding Project will give up to 30 girls from local middle and high schools an opportunity to learn coding skills and introduce them to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career paths with an emphasis on computer science.
"The inaugural year of this project was so successful in changing girls' confidence, attitudes and skills about computer science that we are repeating the summer experience in 2017," said Michelle Kavanaugh, Ed.D., WNY STEM president. "The girls surprised themselves at how much they could do to affect the world around them through coding. One project actually led to a family support app that will provide child care resources for families. This is real-world STEM learning."
Girls will be guided by campus professors, area tech professionals, educators and advocates. During the program, girls will work individually and in teams to learn language used in coding apps, creating digital storyboards, producing animated movies, making learning games or building basic websites. App developers and women mentors will introduce the girls to entrepreneurship, leadership development, and the wide range of career pathways available to a computer scientist and skilled computer coder.
"Girls' exposure to STEM programs and career opportunities are critical to help bridge the leadership gaps for girls in STEM," said Judith Cranston, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western New York. "We are proud to partner with WNY STEM, AT&T, Buffalo State and others on the Girls Coding Program. These types of focused collaborative initiatives are what will help girls realize the unlimited potential they have in STEM career fields."
SUNY Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said, "Buffalo State is proud to once again host The Girls Coding Project. We look forward to welcoming another group of future female STEM leaders to campus later this summer. I applaud WNY STEM, the Girl Scouts of Western New York, AT&T, and the faculty in Buffalo State's computer information systems department for providing this wonderful opportunity."