Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exposing Girls to Computer Science Empowers Girls to Innovate With Code

Guest Blogger: Sriya Lingampalli

I was filled with excitement as I drove over to the Google campus. I’d been to the Googleplex before, but I couldn't hold in my eagerness to experience it again. The opportunity to participate in the Made with Code initiative was incredible, as it
provided me a medium through which I could give back to the community. The primary goal of Made with Code is to educate girls about the importance of code in our society and the role they can play in the future of technology. Girl Scouts of Northern California organized an advisory committee and selected high school girls to spread awareness of STEM programs throughout our community.

Living in an area dominated by technology and computer science, we had many platforms available to us to spread our message. However, the challenge was convincing the community and the girls of the necessity of computer science education. The difficulty we faced in changing the conservative mindset of many in our community taught us the importance of equality and made us want to fight for girls even more. 

In order to make a change in my community, I led my advisory committee group in organizing workshops for both middle and high school students. I developed a curriculum that contains activities from the Made with Code site and included inspirational messages from women role models in the STEM fields. Due to my curriculum’s successful implementation, the entire council decided to use it to spread the Made with Code message. I also created a website featuring events, tutorials, and coding activities to expose more girls to computer science and the opportunities present in the field. (MadeWithCodeFremont.Weebly.com)

With Made with Code, Google and Girl Scouts have created a platform for older experienced girls to educate others about the importance of coding and the opportunities it brings. Women earn less than 15 percent of computer science degrees, and current statistics show how little women are represented in this field. Exposing more girls to computer science now will inspire and empower the next generation of girls to be innovative with code. 

In the future I want to pursue computer science and link it to other fields such as education. Currently many underprivileged students don’t have the available resources to learn about opportunities in computer science. I want to reduce this knowledge gap and expose more students to this field at a young age, sparking their interest so they will feel confident diving deeper once they reach high school and college.

Visiting Google put me one step closer to achieving this goal. I was able to tour the campus and play with Google inventions, which allowed me to more fully understand the vast potential technology has to change the world. Having the chance to present my ideas and be inspired by successful Google women was one of the most inspirational parts of the visit. Learning about their journeys made me further realize my passion for this field. 

For students today, coding is becoming an essential skill, just like reading, writing, and math. These resources can help encourage kids to learn to code and can open up countless opportunities for their future.