Binghamton University Girls Who Code to hold graduation ceremony for 16 local high schoolers
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Girls Who Code (GWC) club at Binghamton University will host a graduation ceremony for its 16 local high-school participants and celebrate the club’s first semester on campus Saturday, May 4. The graduation program will begin at noon at the Innovative Technologies Complex Smart Energy Building at 25 Murray Hill Road, Vestal. Before the ceremony, GWC will hold its last classroom session from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in room 104 on the ground floor of Bartle Library, where members will complete the usual curriculum and prepare their Impact Projects to present at the graduation.
Girls Who Code is an international program that provides young women from third through twelfth grade with resources, education and encouragement to support their interest in computer science, and ultimately increase the number of women who pursue the field professionally. GWC is the only club in the region offering opportunities for both local, female high-school students and engineering students at Binghamton University. GWC is led by students Fiona Liang, Kasey Hill and Caitlin Hall.
“It is our hope that by enrolling in this program, girls will take away a sense of pride in their work and passion for technology. We want them to be comfortable with dreaming big,” said Hill.
The program offers mentorship opportunities for Binghamton University students, allowing them to become role models as well as cultivate support and empowerment among young females interested in STEM fields.
“It’s important to have women who value the need for a strong support system for young girls interested in STEM backing this program and seeing it through,” said Liang.
Participants come from six local high schools: Windsor, Vestal, Johnson City, Chenango Valley/ELC/BOCES, Maine-Endwell and Binghamton. Many of the students had little to no prior experience in computer coding before starting GWC, so the beginner course curriculum teaches them the foundational tools necessary to get started.
Part of the beginner course curriculum includes designing and executing an Impact Project, which allows students to use computer science to solve a problem relevant to the club or their community. Students are able to utilize their coding skills as well as enhance their teamwork, leadership and public speaking skills by working in teams. This semester, some Impact Projects include a platform for encouraging people to foster animals, a school events website and a platform for locating thrift stores. All the Impact Projects will be presented during the graduation.
GWC meets on Binghamton University’s campus for two hours every Saturday. The class begins with an icebreaker, followed by a spotlight on a current female role model who incorporates technology and programming into her work. This semester also included a crash course on Python basics and HTML/CSS, so students can become familiar with all aspects of program development.
“Our goal is to help young girls build character and coding skills, as well as promote female representation in STEM fields,” said Hall.