Girls Who Code

Nassau County Girl Scouts put their computer skills to work at the 2nd Annual Hour of Code™ hosted by the Department of Computer Science.  The event took place in Hofstra’s new Cybersecurity Innovation and Research Center.

“There is a status quo barrier between women and STEM fields such as computing and engineering,” said Dr. Simona Doboli, professor of computer science, who ran the event.  “It is therefore crucial that young girls be exposed early on to the wonders and magic of coding and other STEM disciplines in a fun an engaging way. The Hour of Code event was a great opportunity to accomplish this.”

The Hour of Code challenged a group of approximately 30 middle
school girls to solve coding puzzles using Blockly– a visual programming
system that allows the user to drag and drop blocks that snap together.  Each block represented one line of code. 

With help from computer science students Cora Easton ’23, Danny Pires ’21, and graduate student Meghana Kaska ’20, the girls worked to string blocks together. Activities ranged from creating a Minecraft, dance or arcade video game, to designing a Google logo or composing their own music.

“I hope that this event gives girls a better understanding
of what computer science is and what it can be for them – whether it’s a hobby
or a career,” Easton said.  “And I’m
happy that I can be a role model to help young girls realize that STEM fields
aren’t for boys only.”

The Hour of Code was held in celebration of Computer Science
Education Week (December 9 – 15) and designed to teach young girls the basics
of computer science and introduce them to opportunities in STEM (science,
technology, engineering and math).

“I think coding is very interesting,” said Sophia
L. an 8th grader from Plainedge Middle School. 
“I really enjoyed the activity today and like video games so I may
want to create a career out of coding one day.”

The Hour of Code, is a global movement organized by the
nonprofit Code.org and was created to help teach students critical skills for
21st-century success.

DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science

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