Students explore coding

Jade Warwick, Staff Writer

Expanding the demographics of girls in the field of coding and computer sciences is something that junior Ava Nolan wanted to do since she discovered the non-profit organization, Girls Who Code over two years ago. She first heard about the organization when they held an event at the Downers Grove Public Library.

She had the idea to bring awareness of coding, in the form of a club, to DGN when she had seen other girls have an interest in coding but weren’t considering a career in this field because of the stigma of girls in STEM.

The organization works to educate girls on how to code and encourages them to increase the number of girls in the computer science field. Currently, fewer than one of five computer science graduates are female according to the Girls Who Code website. The goal of bringing the organization to DGN is to promote students to explore the computer science field.

“I want to bring in an environment of inclusivity especially in the computer science field where most women feel like they can’t go into the field because it is a man’s job to do that kind of thing. This club is to support women and says, ‘You can do this,’” Nolan said.

Nolan invited junior Mia Scott to accompany her in getting the club started. Biology teacher, Erin Flanagan, was sought out by the two students and was asked to be the teacher sponsor of the club, even though she has no experience of coding herself.

“I am very interested in learning about it. My goal as an educator is, I want to support students in their passion. As the sponsor it’s my goal to help them develop that passion and lead it, even though I don’t know much about it,” Flanagan said.

Similar to exploring the female aspects of science, Flanagan is also a sponsor for the club Women in STEM.

“The two clubs would work together on a lot of things and I think the interests would feed off of each other, that the Girls Who Code club would draw in some girls from the Women in STEM club. It also may open up to girls that are just interested in coding,” Flanagan said.

The program focuses on teaching students to code no matter the amount of experience they have. At the club they start with the basics of coding and work up to being able to work on their own individual projects. However girls with experience are encouraged to join as well.

“Even if you do have coding experience, it’s always good to brush up and make sure you have a solid foundation. If you don’t know how to code, it’s the perfect program for you,” Scott said.

If the club gets approval, the leaders and club sponsor are looking forward to starting their meetings during the second semester. Nolan is hopeful that the club will be approved and will gain popularity.