When engineering students Kasey Hill, Caitlin Hall and Fiona Liang noticed there was no club in Binghamton that could introduce coding to the next generation of female students, they decided to form their own: the Binghamton University chapter of Girls Who Code.
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to bridge the gender gap in computer science and engineering fields. Teaching and exposing girls at young ages to coding, Girls Who Code provides free summer immersion programs, campus programs and club programs for young female students to participate in throughout the year.
The managing board members of the club will provide training and curriculum material through the national organization to teaching instructors, who are female engineering and computer science students at BU.
Hall, a senior majoring in systems science and industrial engineering, said she hopes the club will encourage other female students to consider participating in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“As female engineering students, we understand the importance of having a support network in our field of study,” Hall said. “We want the program to introduce coding to the next generation of female students and inspire them to consider STEM and engineering fields in their future studies.”
According to Hill, co-founder of the club and a first-year graduate student studying business administration, the club plans on involving both students and faculty in its mission.
“We hope that anyone interested in coding, STEM and engineering has the ability to be involved, learn, teach and excel at doing so,” Hill said. “By involving all departments across the engineering school, we can ensure that any engineering student or faculty member that is interested in our movement has equal opportunity to participate in any way they can.”
Looking ahead, the founding members plan on continuing to expand the club.
“We hope to have the club run every semester for years to come,” Hall said. “We would like to build our network and generate interest through students enough to hold an ‘advanced’ weekend class in addition to the current ‘beginner’ one. We hope to expand our radius of students to give females the opportunity to be enrolled in one of these programs no matter the location in upstate New York.”
Currently, the club has partnered with half a dozen high schools in the Broome County area, including Vestal High School and Johnson City High School, to recruit ninth and 10th-grade female students for the program.
Lessons for high schoolers will be hosted every Saturday, starting March 2, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The classroom activities will take place in one of the Engineering Design Division computer labs at BU.