Penn State Libraries To Launch Coding Class For Women

In case you didn’t already know, there are significantly more men than women in the computer programming field. In an initiative to change the status quo, Penn State Libraries is implementing a computer programming workshop called “Code for Her.”

The nine-week program is geared toward dedicated female and gender-diverse faculty and staff. The class sessions are limited to two hours each week and run from September through November. It’s a beginner coding class to learn the basics of web development and programming in three languages.

The workshop is completely free and those interested need no prior coding experience. All you need to join in on the fun is a bit of determination and a laptop.

“The intent of the workshop series is for participants to gain the confidence to pursue future self-education with a foundational knowledge of basic programming languages in a supportive, empowering environment,” IST research consultant and librarian Carmen Cole said.

Her goal is to provide a space where women can feel free to amplify their voice in a traditionally underrepresented field. In fact, according to U.S. News, a study conducted in 2014 found that only 18 percent of computer science majors were women.

Cole was inspired to launch the program after hearing Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani speak at the opening session of the 2017 American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference. Saujani’s Girls Who Code is a nationwide network of clubs and summer programs that teach teenage girls about computer programming.

“I wondered whether collegiate coding clubs for women existed,” Cole said. “I have not identified another program like Code for Her, so I decided to start one here at Penn State.”

Unsurprisingly, the program has garnered a lot of interest. As of Monday, Cole has had more than 50 students and 65 faculty/staff apply. While space is limited for the course at this time, Cole’s hope for the future is to get a larger space for the workshop so that they can accommodate more participants.

If you’re interested in checking out the program for yourself, applications to sign up for the workshop are still available from now until 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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