BY EMMA SANTAMARIA
From new clubs to national awards, female students are getting involved in coding and other STEM activities. One of the new clubs aimed specifically at female students is Girls Who Code.
The club focuses on eliminating gender inequality in the sciences. “The club is about teaching students about coding and computer science,” explained sophomore Paullyn Asumadu. “It is about trying to close the gender gap that females face in the computer science industry.”
This local chapter serves as part of an organization which reaches girls around the entire world. “Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization that works to close the gender gap in technology and computer science,” said Snigdha Kandula. “I brought the club to our school to get people interested in coding and to teach them the basics of computer science.”
Although the club just started this year, they have already embarked on their coding journey. “We had our first virtual meeting where we began following the guide to Scratch by the GWC HQ,” said Daniella Borovskaia, a member of the club.
This club has big plans for its next ventures in the near future “We work on Scratch and will learn python in a few weeks,” Kandula elaborated. “We will work on projects, and, hopefully, by the end of the year, the members will be able to write some basic programs.”
When it comes to writing programs and creating apps, some students have already earned recognition for their work. “I was recently recognized by the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) with their Rising Star Award,” Anika Dugal shared. “This award recognizes girls who aspire to pursue a career in computing and have already made an impact in the field.”
Juniors Dugal, Kavya Venkatesan and Tamara Kasikovic recently received awards from the National Center for Women in Technology Organization. “I was the recipient of the Aspirations in Computing National Honorable Mention Award,” said Venkatesan, who earned the award for the second time.
Each student’s project focused on different areas of computing. “I completed advanced computer science classes, organized STEM summits and workshops for students, and conducted research in AI, sustainability, and aviation,” explained Venkatesan.
Dugal’s Rising Star Award resulted from her “Decipheron,” a notable contribution to the field which simplifies and explains medical information. “This app is meant to help people understand confusing medical terminology on bloodwork reports and prescriptions,” Dugal said. “Basically, the user can scan a medical document, and the app will explain what each term means,”
Kasikovic, who won National Honorable Mention, also developed an application designed to help people. included in her application, “I also developed an app for food banks to reduce food waste,” explained Kasikovic, who had two internships with NASA for robotics. “It’s basically a database that allows for effective inventory management, so you know exactly what is coming in and out.”
Venkatesan, Dugal, Kaiskovic and other girls received their respective awards at a ceremony on April 13th at Kean University. Kasikovic shared, “We got to connect with people across the state who share an interest of wanting to go into technology which was really nice.”
Any student, an expert or novice, can easily get involved in computing and programing by joining the club. “I joined the club when I saw the flyers in the hallway,” Saniyah Smith said. “I’m interested in code, so I used the QR code to join the teams. Then I just showed up for the meeting!”
Posted on 4/27/23
Photos by Jayden Junaid