Perhaps learning to code isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about summer fun, but for more than 30 girls in Greater Cincinnati, that’s exactly how they want to spend their summer.
The girls are part of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program sponsored by P&G. Through the free, two-week program, ~30 11th and 12th graders are learning about computer science, gaining exposure to tech jobs and joining a national sisterhood of girls who are using computer science to become change-makers.
Upon graduation from the program, which is being held virtually this year, the Girls Who Code alumni network connects tens of thousands of girls across the U.S. who are using technology to make a difference.
Participant Emily Yang applied for the program so she could learn how to code websites and applications and network with IT professionals and other high schoolers who share her passion for coding.
“I'm hoping to get experience coding an actual project and gain a better understanding of what a job in Computer Science would be like,” she said.
P&G CIO Vittorio Cretella, who spent time talking to the girls during a fireside chat, said the world needs more women in IT. He urged Emily and the other program participants to consider majors in Information Technology, Information Systems, Computer Science or Information Science, where females remain vastly underrepresented.
He said there are a variety of rewarding career paths for women in IT at a company like P&G, including deep technology experts who work on network technology and infrastructure, project managers and data scientists. Team members can also work on one of our many brand digital e-commerce platforms or apply their skills to develop new connected products for consumers.
“They can make an important difference by lending their skills and sharing their unique perspectives to the business challenges in front of us,” Cretella said.
Participant Veronica Jennings “wanted to explore the world of coding and learn about women in STEM careers.”
She also knew the program would be a great introduction to Computer Science, where she could learn various coding languages and be able to apply those skills.
“I also hope to be able to understand the coding around me, for example, the processes of building an app like Facebook,” she said.
While the main focus of the Summer Immersion Program is to expose the girls to technology, the learning goes far beyond coding, giving students the opportunity to try new experiences and meet new people. The girls take part in daily 20-minute Sisterhood Activities to get to know one another and build their virtual community.
Aniyah Hych said the program offers her the opportunity “to learn something new out of my comfort zone.” She’s hoping to find “a new mindset and also a new passion I can work on, also open new doors to certain opportunities.”
As a corporate partner of Girls Who Code since 2019, P&G is helping to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. We are committed to advancing gender equality in STEM by removing barriers to STEM education for girls and economic opportunities for women in STEM fields.
Cretella encouraged the girls to get STEM experiences but also to be open to the more creative aspects careers in technology provide.
“Above all, one of the most important skills they’ll need is learning agility to solve problems. What students learn today in the classroom may become obsolete, but what will not change is their capability to learn, be agile and curious to explore solutions.”