Girls on the Go; getting girls excited about computer scienceBy Chelsea Davis | November 15th, 2012 | Category: Community Outreach | Comments Off
In the summer of 2012, Miami CEC professors, Dr. Janet Burge and Dr. Jerry Gannod, held a summer camp program, “Girls on the Go: The Mobile Computing College Experience.” The camp’s location was Miami University, but was held in conjunction with Dr. Maureen Doyle of Northern Kentucky University, and Dr. Karen Davis of the University of Cincinnati. All involved hope that this camp is the first of a series of summer camps.
The camp was open to 25 girls in high school, generally sophomores and juniors. The goal of the camp was to get these young girls not only interested in and excited about attending college, but also, hopefully, interested in studying Computer Science.
There is a significant lack of women in science majors, particularly engineering and computer science. Burge, Gannod, and their counterparts at NKU and UC, hoped that these young girls would see all of the amazing things that could be done in the field of computer science, and feel confident that this was something that they could do. During part of the camp the girls met and interacted with female computer scientists, who work in a variety of areas, from education to patent law.
The camp tried to create and foster this interest both computer science and college life, by having the girls build a zoo-themed mobile application, and by living in the dorms and attending sessions on college admission/first year programs. In order to get these young girls excited about the zoo-application, they took a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and while there, performed ethograms, or studies/records of animal behavior. They conducted these studies and then put together ideas for requirements of the application, and the design, as well.
The camp ended with presentations, by the 25 high schoolers, of their display mock-ups, iBooks, and prototype apps. They not only presented them to their parents but also to Provost Bobby Gempesaw, who also provided the kcikoff speech welcoming the girls’ families to campus.
Dr. Gannod, and two of the Miami counselors, Victoria McIe and Julie Rogers, have extended their “summer work” through the fall, by continuing to work with six of the campers to finish the Ethogram App. They hope that these experiences will encourage and motivate the girls to want to continue studying computer science, especially when they see what they can accomplish through their hard-work. They hope to have the app available in the Apple Store soon.
Girls on the Go was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Schmid-Lapp Fund, and by contributions from NKU and UC. These contributions allowed the 25 high school girls to attend this week-long camp free of charge. The Cincinnati Zoo also partnered with the camp by providing free admission.
The camp was very fortunate and received a lot of support. Girls on the Go had four counselors from both Miami and NKU, and was aided by various professors and alumnae from NKU, UC, and Miami.