Expanding the world of information technology for girls interested in the STEM field is the focus of a National Science Foundation grant received by Spokane Falls Community College.
Entitled “Rebranding the 21st
Century Information Technology (IT) Technician,” the project has now supported two summer camps for middle school girls interested in the IT career field. Principle Investigator (PI) Asa Bradley, along with co-PIs Michele Moore and Max Josquin, were instrumental in the success of the two camps with more than 170 girls attending in June 2015 and 2016. The girls are each given a Raspberry Pi, which is a credit card sized computer that can be plugged into a TV or monitor. By the end of the free one-day camp, participants learned how to install operating systems, program material, install software, set up servers and play Minecraft on their new mini-computer.
Female SFCC students have taken ownership of the program and enjoyed sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with the younger girls as they acted as instructors for the day.
“It was amazing to see how enthusiastic they are about their field and how they transferred that enthusiasm to the middle school students during the camp. Michele and I were blown away by the professionalism and technical expertise of our SFCC IT students,” said Bradley. The SFCC students will host several follow-up sessions throughout the school year at local middle schools and community centers for any middle school girl interested in learning more about IT.
In addition, this year 12 middle school teachers attended an event at SFCC on June 23 where they learned about the Raspberry Pi project, programming in Scratch and the importance of introducing girls to the world of IT and computer science early in their academic careers. The final camp is scheduled to take place summer 2017. For more information about this NSF sponsored program, please contact the Office of Grants and Sponsored Research, 509-434-5160.
“This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1400451.”