San Diego program to encourage young women to hone computing skills

Jan. 15, 2014 at 4:57 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Several Southern California universities say they've joined with industry groups in a program to encourage young women to learn and apply computing skills.

Called GirlTECH San Diego, the non-profit collaborative community program is being started this month by a partnership that includes the University of California at San Diego, San Diego State University, the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University.

Workshops will begin this quarter.

"Some young women lack interest because they don't realize that computing will empower them in any field they pursue, and those with an interest in computing don't necessarily pursue greater skill development because it's either not available at their school or because they lack self-confidence to participate in what is perceived as a male-oriented geek environment," said Diane Baxter, education director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego.

"GirlTECH San Diego creates opportunities for young women with an interest in computing to be empowered by that interest, and to share that interest with peers in a social, collaborative, positive, and directed learning environment," she said in a university release.

GirlTECH San Diego will be focused on providing after-school computing clubs for secondary school girls.

"At the middle school level, those computing clubs will help develop shared interests and friendships," Baster said. "At the high school level, and upon reaching a certain level of computing skills, students will have an opportunity to apply for paid positions as summer camp instructors, honing and strengthening their technology leadership and mentoring skills."

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