100 Girls of Code event helps empower young women in information technology

100 Girls of Code participants at Radford University
100 Girls of Code participants at Radford University

Robots, planets, bits and bytes were the subjects of the day on Sept. 30 as girls from across the New River Valley gathered at Radford University to take part in a 100 Girls of Code event.

The mission of 100 Girls of Code is to achieve gender parity in STEM fields by introducing more young women to code and computer engineering at an earlier age. The organization seeks to inspire more girls to pursue a future in STEM by providing them an opportunity to create and gain confidence in what they create.

100 Girls of Code invests in young women by providing free workshops, introducing them to the world of computer science and engineering, where they create with code and engage in hands-on, innovative thinking. Radford University’s workshops are led by programmers who are experts in their fields and academically trained, but most importantly, they are “girls of code” themselves.

Students at the Radford University event used blue solo cups to create simulated instructions for robot movement as well as creating planets online in the computer labs.

Renee Alarid, associate director of Creative Services at the Moss Arts Center, helped coordinate the event along with Jeff Pittges from the Department of Information Technology. She chose the robot cup activity because of its simplicity and familiarity for the girls.

“Using the cups before they code helps the girls become more comfortable with algorithms that they need to learn to work with information technology,” Alarid said.

The program concluded with a visit to the Radford University Planetarium where the girls learned about the celestial objects visible in the night sky at this time of year as well as a tour across the solar system.

Oct 9, 2017
David Horton