AAUW and Verizon to Bring Coding Course to Girls across the Country
Following the success of an initial pilot, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Verizon are expanding programming designed to teach coding and app development to middle school girls through the AAUW National Tech Trek Program. The collaboration was announced today as part of the 2015 White House Science Fair.
Tech Trek is a series of 21 highly successful, weeklong STEM summer camps that will be held on college and university campuses across 10 states in summer 2015. The expanded collaboration between AAUW and Verizon will build on the substantial successes fostered by their 2014 pilot program. Last summer, AAUW and Verizon brought the course, which uses the App Inventor programming tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to 48 students and trained seven instructors at Tech Trek camps.
The pilot program took place at the University of Alabama, Huntsville; Southwestern Oklahoma State University; and the University of California, Santa Barbara. After participating in the course, 90 percent of campers said they intend to pursue a career in a STEM field, and 80 percent said app development was easier than they anticipated.
“After a very successful pilot last summer, AAUW is excited to team up once again with Verizon to bring this innovative curriculum to every camp. Experiences like Tech Trek demystify STEM careers and show girls that they are fully able — and greatly needed — to create the technologies that shape our world. AAUW is grateful for Verizon’s collaboration in bringing new learning opportunities to our long-standing and successful Tech Trek program,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE.
By offering the Mobile App development course at all 21 Tech Trek camps, AAUW and Verizon will not only offer students a hands-on gateway to computer science through coding skills but also teach entrepreneurship, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving. Through collaborations like this, AAUW and Verizon are taking immediate action to change the face of computing.
Today, women make up just 26 percent of the computing workforce, but programs like the AAUW National Tech Trek camps can help raise that number. Other recommendations for closing the gender gap in computing will appear in AAUW’s latest report, Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing, which examines the factors behind women’s persistent underrepresentation in these fields and will be released Thursday. The report makes evidence-based recommendations for change so that girls who want to invent the next Facebook or build the next Mars rover will feel empowered to do what inspires them.
“There’s a reason so many young people love science. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and it helps us solve the mysteries of our world,” Obama said at the White House fair. “I want more boys and girls across America to get the chance to study science, technology, engineering, and math — and maybe have the opportunity to go on to careers in those fields, too. So I’m glad so many organizations are stepping up to support STEM education. When we invest in our young people, we invest in our future.”
AAUW of California founded Tech Trek in 1998, and in 2012, the AAUW National Tech Trek Pilot Program was undertaken to give girls across the country access to this rich learning experience. AAUW’s STEM camps and conferences focus on girls in middle school because those years are a crucial time to maintain and build on girls’ interest in STEM.
Verizon is mobilizing resources around one mission: employing technology to address some of the most pressing social problems in education and health care affecting underserved and underrepresented communities. By collaborating to deliver robust programs like the AAUW National Tech Trek Program, Verizon helps put the latest technologies into the hands of the people who need it the most.
We could go on and on about how exciting Tech Trek is. But really, these photos speak for themselves.
Since 1998, Tech Trek has made STEM exciting and accessible to girls in middle school.
AAUW’s upcoming research report, Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing, will feature the latest data on girls’ achievement in subjects related to engineering and computing.