By Julie Crothers Beer
Goshen News, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at a local chapter of “Digital Eve”, a group dedicated to supporting women in computer science.
With the help of a grant from Google, members of Goshen College’s Digital Eve organization hope to share their love of computer science with the next generation of technology gurus.
Digital Eve, a group dedicated to supporting women in technology, is led locally by Jeanette Shown, Goshen College’s associate professor of computer science and information technology, and Meghan Gerke, a junior information technology major.
The organization was recently selected to receive an $8,500 grant from Google’s IgniteCS program, an initiative that supports student groups dedicated to developing and delivering a computer science outreach program.
In addition to covering the cost of materials, the grant will also be used to pay Goshen College students to help with the program.
Approximately 20 students in grades seven through 12 are invited to participate in each program, for a total of 40 students served.
Shown said she’s been contemplating ways to reach out to students in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties to ignite an interest in computer science since she joined the college last fall.
“I had been thinking about a way to do something like this and then serendipity intervened,” Shown said.
The first two programs offered — one in the fall and a second in the spring — will be focused primarily on teaching students to use and program Raspberry Pi computers and helping them learn Python, a common programming language. Students will then put their knowledge together for a third part of the program that Shown said might involve the popular video game Minecraft.
Shown said she plans to target junior high school-aged girls, as well as homeschooled students.
“That junior high age range is really when we start losing girls,” Shown explained.
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“In my day, being a geek and being a girl was tough and even today we’re still losing women in technology. I think it’s important to reach them early and let them know this is an avenue where they can turn their talents to.”