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WNY STEM Hub to offer the 'Girls Coding Project' at Buffalo State

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- WNY STEM Hub is collaborating with other partners to present two summer activities that make science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) engagement fun for students in grades 6 through 12.

The Girls Coding Project is a two-week learning experience in collaboration with the Girl Scouts of WNY and Buffalo State College. Sessions will be held July 9–24 (9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) in the Technology Building, home of the college's Computer Information Systems Department. The Girls Coding Project will give up to 36 girls from local middle and high schools an opportunity to learn coding skills and introduce them to STEM career paths, with an emphasis on computer science.

Girls will learn from campus professors and tech professionals. During the program, girls will work individually and in teams to learn the language used in coding apps, creating digital storyboards, animated movies, learning games, and website development. Women mentors will introduce the girls to entrepreneurship, leadership development, and the wide range of career pathways available to a computer scientist and skilled computer coder.

This is the third year for the Girls Coding Project, which began in 2016 with support from AT&T. General Motors Tonawanda Engine joined as the lead corporate sponsor in 2017.

"We are very excited to work with WNY SEM Hub and inspire the next generation of innovators to work in STEM-related careers," said Ram Ramanujam, GM Tonawanda Engine Plant director. "I'm also pleased that our partnership will help students get access and opportunities to not only learn about the possibilities, but also the rewards of a STEM education. This partnership is just one more step in Tonawanda Engine's commitment to encouraging and growing diverse future leaders in our local community."

The Girls Coding Project is unique in Western New York. Technology is a largely male-dominated field, with limitless opportunities for women to engage as innovators and entrepreneurs.

"The Girl Scouts of WNY organization is proud of our success rate with developing the STEM workforce. Eighty percent of all female tech leaders were once Girl Scouts," said Alison Wilcox, chief operating officer, Girl Scouts of WNY. "In our safe, all-girl environment, girls have the courage to try new skills and step out of their comfort zones, and the confidence and grit to thrive in STEM fields. Employers are calling out for their need to build a more diverse STEM workforce, and that starts with today's girls. We are excited to be a partner of the Girls Coding Project."

Introducing middle school and high school students to computer science education through hands-on learning is a powerful incentive to pursue further learning and take first steps on an in-demand career pathway. Computer science is a foundational skill for twenty-first-century learning, and is the basis for 58 percent of new STEM jobs, according to Code.org, an international organization dedicated to expanding student access to computer science.

"We look forward to hosting the third annual Girls Coding Project at Buffalo State this summer," Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said. "Because of this wonderful initiative, the Western New York community has a new cadre of young female STEM leaders who will be incredibly prepared and equipped for the workforce of tomorrow. Buffalo State thanks its partners at WNY STEM, and the Girl Scouts of Western New York for their commitment to this important work."

Registration is $75 at https://gswny.wufoo.com/forms/2018-girls-coding-project. Scholarship support is available for students in need.