Code Camp aims to teach New Hanover County girls STEM skills
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly a dozen middle school girls in New Hanover County are spending the first weeks of summer break learning the basics of coding.
“If they’re excited by the end of it--even if they didn’t quite get it to work perfectly -- I think that will be a success,” said Doug McLean, strategic advisor for Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI).
The girls are spending three weeks at Trask Middle School for the STEAM Challenge program. The goal is to learn the basics of computer hardware repair, robotics and block coding. For many girls, studying subjects like science and math can be intimidating.
“I was a little nervous when I first started cause I’m like, ‘What if I break something?’” said rising 9th grader Omni. “Now, I’m just like if I can do it, a lot of other people can do it.”
The New Hanover County School District collaborated with the nonprofit DaytoCode and DAI to create the opportunity for these girls to be exposed to careers in STEM.
“It’s like the thrill of getting to put stuff together and know that like something could actually come out of it,” said Omni.
Women and people of color are often underrepresented in the fields of STEM. Women only account for 27 percent of the workforce in those areas.
Participants will keep the computer and robotics kit they used during the camp. NHCS hopes that by giving them the foundational skills, these girls will stay interested in STEM long after the summer camp.
“It’d be great if 10 years from now, one of these girls had a job on an offsite wind farm sitting off of Wilmington or they work for GE or nCino,” said McLean. “There are a lot of opportunities that are coming about -- jobs that aren’t here today that will be here when they’re 23 or 24.″
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