Girls Exploring Math and Science
The gender balance in the science fields has been evolving progressively- 57% of all undergraduate degrees are obtained by women as are 52% of all math and science undergraduate degrees according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. However the individual fields don’t all see such equal distribution. Computer science turns out the fewest female undergrads with 18% of degrees going to women.
Its these statistics that motivate young women like Briana Chapman. A sophomore from Mahomet, Illinois, she’s been involved with the Girls Engaged in Math and Science camp since she attended herself in 6th grade. The camp is an outreach program through the Siebel Center for Computer Science that has been encouraging middle school girls to get excited about computer science since 1994. It operates at no cost to the campers, and draws a waiting list as high as 100 girls this year.
Chapman serves as the camp coordinator-she is on the forefront of curriculum planning, booking guest speakers and applying for funding to ensure that the program remains free and worthwhile. This year the camp was awarded money from The National Center for Women & Information Technology thanks to Chapman’s effort. She allotted the money to Nexus 7 tablets so the girls could create Android Apps. It was also her influence that shaped this year’s program around sustainability in the food industry- a theme that compelled the girls to be more socially aware and got them thinking logically about problem solving with real world issues.
Chapman and her fellow counselors did an exemplary job this year of getting girls to relate creativity and social activism to computer science. Take a look inside Chapman’s camp below.
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