Computing labs in the Jeffress Center serve as incubator for creativity
To reinforce the commitment to create access and opportunity for the community, last fall Schoolcraft College joined with Girls Who Code, an international, non-profit organization committed to increasing access for girls and women in computer science and technology.
Two Club sessions – one for grades 3-5 and one for grades 6-12 – were launched in the fall and continued into the winter. Each cohort of about 40 students meets from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in the computing labs in the Jeffress Center.
The program combines sisterhood activities and coding exercises working toward a community-based project, such as a website or animation. Schoolcraft College Student Ambassadors, local high school students, and community volunteers (AAUW – American Association of University Women) currently serve as Facilitators.
Tyler Johnson, Culinary Arts; Faith Piontek, Computer Science; and Caryn Doehler, AAUW; are the Facilitators for the younger students. Reigan Henderson, Student Ambassador/Honors Scholar, and Emily Dobao, a senior at Livonia Stevenson, are the Facilitators for the older students.
The results have been impressive – so much so that U.S. Representative Haley Stevens dropped by on Saturday, February 12, for a first-hand look.
“First of all, Schoolcraft College feels like a home away from home,” said Stevens, who represents Michigan’s 11th District* “It is very energizing to see girls of all ages, from elementary to middle to high school, plus the next generation of women who are working with the students and finishing their studies here before going off to a four-year school.”
The coding curriculum includes important programs such as Scratch, Python, HTML, Java Script, C, C++ and CSS.
“It’s exciting to see young girls who often might feel blocked out from technology or feeling it’s not accessible to them now making games or coming up with different types of programs because they have student leaders and they have a place at Schoolcraft College to engage in this program,” Stevens said. “You hear about Girls Who Code, but seeing it in action, that is everything.”
Girls Who Code is free to participants and made possible at Schoolcraft thanks to generous support from the Schoolcraft College Foundation and MASCO.
Heddy Worden, Director of Strategic Enrollment, serves as the lead for the Girls Who Code program at Schoolcraft College and is at the Jeffress Center each Saturday to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“Together, we are building a partnership that addresses an unserved need, setting the stage for continued academic growth and prosperity among those we serve,” Worden said.
“By utilizing our Student Ambassadors, Schoolcraft Scholars Honors Program students, and local high school students to serve as Facilitators, we are cultivating a transformational leadership experience that reinforces their commitment to the College and the cause.”
For more information on Schoolcraft College’s Girls Who Code program, and to learn how you can become a Facilitator, please contact Heddy Worden at [email protected] or 734-462-4548. Learn more about Girls Who Code on their website.
*Michigan’s 11th Congressional District contains portions of Wayne and Oakland Counties. Major cities include Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Canton Township, Clawson, Commerce Township, Farmington, Highland Township, Lake Angelus, Livonia, Lyon Township, Milford Township, Northville, Novi, Plymouth, Rochester Hills, South Lyon, Troy, Walled Lake, Waterford, West Bloomfield, White Lake Township, and Wixom.