By Dyana Bagby
High school students interested in computer science are being offered a fun and exciting way to learn about the industry seriously in need of girl power.
Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit, is actively recruiting girls to participate in first summer immersion program in Atlanta with March 1 as the deadline to sign up. The workshop will be held in Buckhead from June 6 to July 22.
“This is for young women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) … and we’re seeking to offer fair representation in these fields,” said Arlene Persuad, spokesperson for Atlanta’s Girls Who Code program. There are 60 spots open in Atlanta’s summer program.
The summer immersion program is a seven-week workshop where participants will learn about computer science, robotics, web design and mobile development. There will be presentations from women who are engineers and entrepreneurs and top women executives will also provide career and academic mentorship.
“They will be building and creating,” Persuad said.
Founded in 2012 by Reshma Saujani, Girls Who Code seeks to close the gender gap in computer coding. Today, women represent only 18 percent of all computer science graduates, down significantly from 37 percent in 1984.
The summer immersion program is free, but in January Saujani announced $1 million in scholarships for girls to attend thanks to partnerships with dozens of corporations, including Amazon, Facebook, Pixar Animation Studios and Twitter.
The scholarships will go toward helping cover transportation costs and also replace loss wages for girls who have summer jobs.
“We are reaching out directly to high school principals, guidance counselors, parents, clubs and other youth programs. And we are specifically reaching out to minority students and low-income students,” said Persuad of Atlanta.
Girls Who Code’s summer immersion program is now in 11 cities and offered to 1,560 girls, a jump from just 20 girls in a New York during its inaugural year.
“This incredible expansion shows the technology sector has finally woken up to its gender gap problem and is moving quickly to show many more young women they have a future in the industry,” said Saujani in a statement.
“I want to thank all of our partners who are as committed as we are to reversing long-held assumptions about what an engineer should be and opening up many new doors for women across the nation.”
For more information and to register, visit girlswhocode.com.