Coding Camp

Run by high schoolers in Southern California, Rahael George, Kalista Hamad and Sasha Ronaghi, CodeXX was created to bridge the gender gap in the computer science field. The Indian American-led nonprofit teaches coding to girls by way of female-only coding camps. (photo provided)

An Indian American-led nonprofit recently held a camp as part of its goal of bringing more girls into the computer science field by teaching them how to code.

Founded by Rahael George, Kalista Hamad and Sasha Ronaghi, CodeXX is a nonprofit run by high school students who have seen a gender gap in the industry, according to a news release.

The CodeXX program creates a summer camp in which girls will be able to learn the ins and outs of coding in an empowering and inclusive environment, it said. 

Currently, less than 18 percent of computer science graduates are women, the news release said.

Women hold only 25 percent of computing jobs. Even fewer are women of color, it said. With the future being centered on computers and coding, this is a relevant issue, the release noted.

This disparity was also seen in the lives of CodeXX’s creators. The nonprofit founders have seen this gender gap in their own high school classes. 

The initiative works to make the field more inclusive by holding a two-week, all-girl camp in the summer, free of charge, where girls would come to learn how to code themselves.

They would be taught the introduction to the coding language Python, which is relevant and useful today when programming and in big data collection. The goal of the camp is to create a learning environment conducive to girls, where they feel supported to make uncharted forays into coding and where they will not be judged for their mistakes, according to the release.

This past year, CodeXX hosted the camp, through the sponsorship of the YMCA and Microsoft, at the Lakewood YMCA in Southern California.

The camp supported 18 girls who attended free of charge. They were taught a curriculum unique to CodeXX that covered half the curriculum taught in the AP Computer Science Principles Class, the release said.

The participants worked on their own “final projects” of their choice. These projects included finished video games, websites, apps and interactive quizzes, according to CodeXX. 

For those who are interested, the CodeXX summer camp services girls ages 13-17 in the Long Beach/Lakewood area.

The applications for summer 2020 will be open in April 2020. Even if you have never heard of coding, this camp is for everyone. More information can be found by visiting https://prjdoublex.wixsite.com/codexx.

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