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Girls who Code

Date: 10/03/17
Where: Yonkers Public Library

Yonkers Riverfront Library is starting a Girls Who Code club for 6-12th grade students in an effort to close the gender gap in technology and encourage more young women to pursue careers in the computer science field. Beginning Oct. 3, this free after-school program will meet weekly every Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. in Tech Central.

Girls Who Code is a nationwide initiative that works to inspire, educate and equip girls with the computing skills to succeed in the workplace. Each week, participants will learn computer science fundamentals, work on a community impact project, and be initiated into a network of tens of thousands of girls who code throughout the U.S. The program is designed for students with a wide range of computer science experience, including girls with zero knowledge to students looking to build on their existing skills.

“We are very excited to host a Girls Who Code club here in Tech Central,” said Christine Bitetti, club co-facilitator and technology instructor coordinator for Tech Central at Riverfront Library. “The Library works in partnership with the school district to develop programs that can help fill any gaps and engage the students. The Girls Who Code club is offered at only one middle school in Yonkers, so we’re ecstatic to step in and expand the program to all other students for free.”

Girls Who Code was founded with the goal of achieving gender parity in the computing and technology sectors. While the demand for computing skills in the American workplace is growing at a rate three times the national average, the number of women working in computer science has decreased from 37 percent in 1995 to 24 percent today, according to Cracking the Gender Code, a 2016 research report from Girls Who Code and Accenture. Additionally, in 1984, 37% of computer science majors in the U.S. were women but that number has fallen to 18% in 2015, according to the report.

“This is an opportunity for girls to gain exposure to the latest in technology trends and computer science, under the guidance of a highly qualified instructor,” said Bitetti. “The girls will learn life skills, such as collaborating, setting goals, and problem-solving. These skills will stay with them as they enter college and the workforce.”

The club will be co-facilitated by Bitetti and Maria D. Chang, research scientist for Cognitive Computing for Education at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

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