High School News

Girls Who Code

Coding skills are in high demand for Mid-Pacific graduates.

Posted on October 11, 2016 by Scot Allen

By Laura Davis

Sunny Bak Hospital, local IT and data analytics consultant, is personally aware of how few women work in the technology industry. "Being a software developer as a woman was a challenge. In my time, the women/men ratio in class was 3 to 50 and most of the times boys were more confident and expected to do better. When I did better, I always doubted myself instead of accepting it."

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Ms. Hospital decided to volunteer for Girls Who Code (GWC), a national non-profit which supports school clubs in an attempt to close the gender gap in programming. Mid-Pacific was recommended as a community partner and Ms. Hospital found the school eager to make it work for both middle school and high school students.

"Coding skills are in high demand for Mid-Pacific graduates," said Brian Dote, Mid-Pacific's Chief Innovation Officer. "The problems that need to be solved in all industries can often times leverage computational thinking skills, the very skills we are teaching via the Girls Who Code after-school program."

The free program on campus meets every Thursday. Curriculum includes creativity in programming, writing algorithms, storing data, web development, and using arduinos and circuits.

Mr. Dote expressed his gratitude towards Ms. Hosptial. "GWC is providing an amazing curriculum paired with wonderful community volunteers to bring coding skills to our students. As part of a longer-term strategy, GWC fits perfectly as an extended learning/after-school component of our Technology Vision Statement. GWC is helping us bring more computational thinking opportunities to our students."

Ms. Goff, one of Mid-Pacific's librarians, co-hosts the club on Thursday afternoons in the Library. She was approached last spring by Elena Cordova ('17) looking for a willing club advisor. "It's great to know our girls are eager to join the club and learn more about coding. Computer skills are without a doubt extremely important in today's world, and I hope our club members gain confidence and knowledge that they will apply to their work in school and beyond."

Cordova ('17) raised awareness about GWC at club day this fall. "We have around 15 high schoolers and 15 middle schoolers who are interested in the club," said Cordova ('17). Because the club meetings will be primarily coding classes, Ms. Goff and I feel that the size is adequate and leaves room for the club to grow. I hope that girls at Mid-Pacific will learn valuable skills and utilize this opportunity to explore computer sciences."

Ms. Hospital shares Cordova's ('17) vision. "GWC isn't only for those who are already interested in tech like robotics club. I strongly encourage that the outreach goes out to students who in their mind already gave up on technology from intimidation. My hope [for the club] would be that students realize tech isn't that bad! I want them to aim high and move forward and upward with confidence without fear or self doubt." In the future, Ms. Hosptial hopes to extend the GWC program to public schools.

Want to contribute hardware or programming expertise to the new Girls Who Code Club? Contact Ms. Goff at ngoff@midpac.edu