RSCO Feature: Girls Who Code

Isabella Lee, Staff writer

Are you a girl, female-presenting or non-binary individual that has an interest in coding, computers, and the field of STEM? If you are, there’s a new club at Mercyhurst that might just be for you.
Girls Who Code is a new club committed to “rais[ing] awareness and interest in programming and computer related careers, particularly among women who tend to be underrepresented in these field,” said Lauren Williams, Ph.D., Chair of the Mathematics Department and advisor of the club.
According to the Girls Who Code website, 24% of computer scientists were women, compared to 37% in 1995. “We acknowledge that historical and institutional barriers—particularly racial bias and discrimination—play a role in the widening gender gap in computer science and who has access to opportunities in these fields,” said the inclusion statement of Girls Who Code. “Girls Who Code focuses our work not only on gender diversity but also on young women who are historically
underrepresented in computer science fields, specifically girls who come from underrepresented minority groups, including African American/Black, Hispanic or Latina, Bi/Multiracial, Native American/Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; come from low-income backgrounds,
specifically free and/or reduced lunch eligible; and have had a lack of exposure or access to computer science,” continued the statement. “Girls Who Code has many purposes, centered around
increasing and connecting women in programming and technological career fields,” said Sakura Gavin, junior Mathematics and Data Science major and President of the club. “The purpose of the club at this campus is to connect female-identifying or non-binary students in the technological majors, or others interested in joining those career fields. I found that there weren’t any clubs or programs made to help connect and support women in technology, and wanted to create a place where we can meet, share advice, and have fun.” While the club is relatively new, with only two meetings so far, there are more plans to meet up, with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. and subsequently held biweekly. “Right now, we have a plan to have a meeting where we will hold a small competition centered around members creating their own program, whether it’s a skit or mini game,
on a website designed to introduce people to coding,” said Gavin. “Students at Mercyhurst should join if they’re interested in connecting with others passionate about increasing and supporting women in technology,” said Gavin. “Our club is still at our beginning stages and would love for students to
join, regardless of experience in programming.” If this is a club that potentially interests you, reach out to Gavin or Dr. Williams! This is a new club, so they are actively welcoming new members!