Last month, we highlighted young high school women across the state who were recognized by the National Center of Women in IT (NCWIT) during the North Carolina Aspirations in Computing Awards celebration. Talazia Moore, a former Aspirations winner, and Phllip O’Berry, Technology School alum, received their second NCWIT Aspire IT grant, which they use to fund a middle school technology camp for girls – Gidget Girls.
Under the direction of Dr. Sharon Jones, Talazia develops, plans and leads the technology camp for middle school girls. For the second year, IT-oLogy supports Gidget Girls by reviewing the plans, engaging technology practitioners to speak and judge.
Talazia, now a NCSU student, shares her experience in this blog..
“Gidget Girls summer camp is a weeklong computing camp to spread the awareness of females in the computing field, as well as spark an interest in young females. During the camp, middle school girls worked with different programs, such as Snap (BYOB) and HTML, in addition to CS Unplugged. Through these programs, the girls were able to gain basic/ fundamental programming skills. Each day, the middle school girls were introduced to a different learning concept, such loops and variables, building their knowledge of computing. In addition, the girls were able to interact with each other and share their interest in computer science throughout the duration of the summer camp.
The camp is not only to teach young females about computing, but also to introduce them to different computing careers. To do so, the girls participated in Career Discovery day where guest speakers, such as women from Tech Talent South, Technekes, and Jabian, came and discussed their role in the work place, in addition to hosting a Q&A session. At the end of the camp, each girl created an original project on the social topic of cyber bullying, and gave a presentation in front of their peers and a group of panelist who judged the projects and awarded the winners with monetary prizes.
For me, this camp provides an opportunity to give back to the community, and spread awareness of the lack of women in the computing field. Many of the girls are from impoverished environments, and rarely have the opportunity to build any computing skills; this is troubling because this is a technical world. I have enjoyed teaching and sharing my knowledge with the girls, and wish to continue Gidget Girls, opening it up to accept more young females.”