Girls Who Code Offers Summer Programs, Scholarship Funds

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Girls Who Code, an initiative to draw more girls into computer science-based education, will be hosting 78 Summer Immersion Programs in 2016 and providing $1 million in scholarships to its attendees.

The national non-profit will be teaming up with companies and philanthropic foundations for these programs, which aim to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Girls Who Code will be granting more than $1 million in scholarships to go towards lost wages and transportation costs for those with the most financial need.

The new offerings will be a 37% increase in programs from last year, in which 34 companies hosted girls in 57 programs across 9 cities.

Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani said:

This incredible expansion shows the technology sector has finally woken up to its gender gap problem and is moving quickly to show many more young women they have a future in the industry. I want to thank all of our partners who are as committed as we are to reversing long-held assumptions about what an engineer should be and opening up many new doors for women across the nation.

Each program lasts seven weeks and offers high school juniors and seniors more than 300 hours of instruction and practice in web development and design, algorithms, robotics, and mobile development, according to the Girls Who Code website. Students also get to listen to presentations by female engineers and entrepreneurs, as well as to be mentored by top female professionals.

Girls can also participate in Girls Who Code clubs throughout the year, writes Sara Ashley O’Brien of CNN Money, which are available to all girls in grades six through twelve. The organization recommends that students meet throughout the school year in two-hour increments for a total of forty hours a year. A scaffolding curriculum is available for free, which includes monthly project-based activities, opportunities to build working mobile apps and games, and a final project that aims to have a real-world impact.

The first programs this summer will be held in Austin and Atlanta. Other cities include New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Newark, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Girls Who Code was founded as a program for 20 girls in New York City in 2012, and grew rapidly into a national movement. The organization aims to provide computer science education to one million girls by the year 2020.

In middle school, 74% of girls say they’re interested in going into a STEM field, but only .4% of high school girls choose a computer science major. Much of this is due to a lack of exposure, further exacerbated by a lack of suitable role models for girls who may believe that only men can really achieve a successful career in technology. After the Girls Who Code program, however, 90% of its graduates went on to major or minor in computer science or a related field.

Applications for this year’s programs are due March 1st. All girls, including transgender girls, are welcome to apply, and the program focuses on the needs of underserved groups like people of color and the impoverished.