It was a chance for more than a dozen fourth grade students to team up with Shaker High School juniors and seniors, and learn how to use programming software. It’s a skill that is proving to be essential for students aspiring to pursue careers in the field of computer science.
“Research came out in January, that 72 percent of computer science majors in college are offered jobs in their senior year before they graduate,” said Carmela McCarthy, a Shaker High School math and computer science teacher.
McCarthy says workshops like this one are stepping stones for younger, female students to become exposed to the world of coding and programming. McCarthy’s female AP Computer Science students and Computer Science II students partnered with fourth grade girls from a local girl scout troop, teaching them how to use an elementary programming software called “Scratch”.
“They can go home and open up these projects they’re working on today and look at other people’s code,” said McCarthy. “If they really enjoy it, they can do it on their own. There’s a ton of tutorials on the website.”
McCarthy says this year her classes are made up of some of the best female programmers she’s ever had.
“I’m a very math and science oriented person,” said Shaker High School junior, Sarah Gouveia. “It’s very fun to be able to work out your own solutions to problems, because there’s really no right way to do a program.”
Gouveia says it’s important for the girls to begin to learn the skills now, skills they can only build upon as they move on through school.
“Showing them that programming is fun and they can do it is important,” she said. “I feel it needs more female representation in the field.”
Click here for a photo gallery of the workshop.