The Girls Who Code Summer Session sponsored by Chevron and hosted by Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE) recently offered hands-on STEM activities and interactive lessons to 25 local girls in a camp focused on computer coding, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The girls were able to learn the basics of computer programming and were able to code their own characters that were able to participate in activities such as games, mad libs, and dance battles. They connected everyday objects to their computer by using Makey Makey kits which is an electronic invention tool. This taught them about open and closed circuits, technology, and more.
The camp also featured guest speakers including Tashika Charles and Kay Byrd from Chevron who shared specifics on their STEM careers, while offering the girls advice on time management and staying focused on their goals. Also from Chevron, Shruthi Avantsa and Ana Simonato participated in the camp virtually.
TFAE Executive Director Ashlee Barahona said the weeklong experience was about so much more than computing, “it was a week of sisterhood and learning to empower one another, build confidence and be ‘brave not perfect’.” She said she sees the workforce being empowered by strong women like the ones who participated in the camp in the future.
Leah Brown, Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, said,” When young women meet role models that use STEM and coding in their career, they begin to see these professions as viable opportunities they could pursue. We have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to help these girls build confidence in these subjects. At Chevron, we are committed to investing in critical programs like Girls Who Code which inspire young minds and foster a passion for learning. We’re proud to be a part of it.”
Girls Who Code is an international organization that offers opportunities for girls to learn about STEM through coding. The group also works to build confidence, a sense of sisterhood, and encourage bravery as girls explore typically male-dominated STEM career paths. Girls Who Code was first introduced to Terrebonne Parish when TFAE and Chevron funded a grant to local teacher Melissa Williamson to start her own club. Since then, the program has grown regionally through other school-based organizations and the annual camp sponsored by Chevron. Melissa, along with three other TPSD teachers, served as camp facilitators.
TFAE would like to thank Chevron. Their donation was able to give the girls their own Makey Makey kits, supplies needed, a science journal, a novel, and other fun items like a camp t-shirt, a binary bracelet making kit, and much more. Chromebooks were also provided for those who needed them. They would like to thank local companies including T Baker Smith, Papi Cheo, Hancock Whitney, Chick-Fil-A, Downtown Jeaux’s Coffee and Synergy Bank for donating meals to the camp. Additionally, Evolution Training taught the girls a self-defense class. Fletcher Community College donated space for the camp, and the Terrebonne Parish School District provided transportation for the girls to and from the camp.
Barahona said, “We are so proud of all the girls and hope they will use their experience to further explore their interest in STEM.” To learn more about Girls Who Code, visit www.tfae.org/girls-who-code.