Students get a crash course in coding

Hackathons often bring together coders and designers to create innovative solutions to business and social problems. At the Tech Sassy Girlz Hackathon in Orlando, middle and high school girls get a crash course in coding and some exposure to the tech sector.

TRANSCRIPT

HACKATHONS OFTEN BRING TOGETHER CODERS AND DESIGNERS TO CREATE INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO BUSINESS AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.

AND IN ORLANDO, AT THE TECH SASSY GIRLZ HACKATHON, MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS GOT A CRASH COURSE IN CODING AND EXPOSURE TO CAREERS IN THE TECH SECTOR.

YOUNG WOMEN MAKE UP A SIGNIFICANT MAJORITY OF COLLEGE STUDENTS, BUT THEY REPRESENT LESS THAN A QUARTER OF THOSE STUDYING THE S.T.E.M.

SUBJECTS -- SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH.

THERE'S WIDE AGREEMENT THAT, FOR THE UNITED STATES TO REMAIN A WORLD LEADER, WE MUST BRING MORE WOMEN INTO THESE FIELDS.

♪♪ TECH SASSY GIRLZ, THE SIGNATURE PROGRAM OF COLLEGIATE PATHWAYS, AIMS TO DO JUST THAT.

IT PROVIDES MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS EXPOSURE TO TECHNOLOGY CAREERS THROUGH WORKSHOPS AND MENTORSHIP.

WE HAVE A FULL DAY FOR YOU.

IT'S REALLY ABOUT HAVING THE GIRLS UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPTS.

IT'S IMPORTANT, FOR ME, FOR THEM TO SEE THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF HOW AN APP IS BUILT, AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT THEY TYPICALLY TAKE FOR GRANTED ON A REGULAR BASIS.

WHO WANTS TO LEARN ABOUT SOFTWARE -- COMPUTER SOFTWARE?

WHO WANTS TO LEARN ABOUT HOW TO BUILD AN APP?

THERE'S A MIXTURE OF GIRLS IN OUR PROGRAM.

THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE BRAND-NEW.

THEY'VE NEVER WRITTEN A LINE OF CODE BEFORE IN THEIR LIVES.

AND THEN THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE MORE ADVANCED.

SO OUR HOPE IS JUST ENGAGING THEM.

DURING A RECENT HACKATHON AT THE ORLANDO PUBLIC LIBRARY, THE GIRLS WERE INTRODUCED TO CODING LANGUAGES AND PROGRAMS.

THIS IS CODING.

NOW, IT DOESN'T LOOK VERY PRETTY.

THERE'S A LOT OF SYMBOLS AND CHARACTERS THAT ARE ON THE SCREEN HERE.

BUT WHAT I WANTED TO SHOW YOU, JUST LIKE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, YOU CAN SAY THE SAME THING.

AND IN THIS CASE, THIS CODE IS BASICALLY DESIGNED TO PRINT A MESSAGE TO A SCREEN.

AFTER BEING SHOWN THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO THEM, THE GIRLS BROKE INTO GROUPS TO PUT THEIR SKILLS TO THE TEST.

TYPICALLY, A HACKATHON IS REALLY SOLVING A BUSINESS PROBLEM IN THE COMMUNITY.

TODAY WE'RE DOING A MINI VERSION OF IT AND WORKING WITH GIRLS IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL FOR FOUR HOURS AND HELPING THEM SOLVE AN ISSUE WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES, FOCUSED ON EDUCATION AND WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY, FINANCIAL LITERACY, AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY.

WE CHOOSE EITHER IF WE WANT TO MAKE AN APP OR A WEBSITE FOR THAT PROBLEM.

WE CHOSE THE TOPIC OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY, AND WE'RE PUTTING DIFFERENT WEBSITES AND FORUMS FOR PARENTS TO DO BLOGS AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

THE GIRLS ARE WORKING WITH REAL-LIFE GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, REAL-LIFE CODERS, REAL-LIFE PROJECT MANAGERS, AND THEY'RE HELPING THEM THROUGH THE PROCESS.

WE TRY TO IMPLEMENT REAL-WORLD METHODOLOGIES TO SOLVING PROBLEMS.

SO WE TAKE THEM THROUGH THE DESIGN SESSION, THE BRAINSTORMING, THE STORYBOARDING.

JUST PEEKING IN ON SOME OF THE CONVERSATIONS THAT THEY'RE HAVING RIGHT NOW IN THEIR BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS, I'M TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY.

HOW WOULD THE GAME WORK?

THROUGH AN APP.

AN APP? OKAY.

HOW WOULD THAT WORK?

OUR APP IS CALLED TRIVIA FRIENDS.

IN THIS APP, WE ARE TRYING TO ACCELERATE PEOPLE IN SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS.

TECH SASSY GIRLZ ALSO MATCHES PARTICIPANTS WITH MENTORS, WHO SERVE AS BOTH ADVISERS AND ROLE MODELS.

S.T.E.M. WAS A VERY MALE-DOMINATED FIELD, SO TO SPEAK.

NOW THAT MORE WOMEN ARE GOING INTO IT, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US GIRLS TO HAVE MENTORS SO THAT WE CAN GO INTO THAT FIELDS, KNOW WHAT WE WANT TO DO, AND SO WE DON'T GET INTIMIDATED AS MUCH.

WE'RE VERY EXCITED THAT WE GET SO MANY WOMEN FROM DIFFERENT COMPANIES AND DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS THAT COME AND SUPPORT OUR EVENT, BECAUSE THE GIRLS GET TO ACTUALLY SEE WOMEN WHO LOOK LIKE THEM IN S.T.E.M.

DISCIPLINES.

THE GIRLS CAN ALSO PITCH THEIR IDEAS TO PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD.

THIS WEBSITE IS CALLED FUN HEALTHY LIVING 4 FAMILIES.

IT ORIGINALLY STARTED OUT AS AN APP, BUT WE FELT THAT THE APP SMASHED OUR CREATIVITY, SO WE TRANSFERRED IT TO A WEBSITE.

FOR FOUNDER LAINE POWELL, GETTING GIRLS INTERESTED IN S.T.E.M. IS WHAT THE PROGRAM IS ALL ABOUT.

I WOULD ALWAYS ENCOURAGE SOMEONE TO JOIN TECH SASSY, BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT DAY, NO MATTER WHAT WE'RE DOING, WE'RE ALWAYS LEARNING ABOUT S.T.E.M. -- SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS.

SO IT'S ALWAYS HELPING AND ENCOURAGING YOUNG LEADERS.

SPEECHLESS TODAY.

[ LAUGHTER ] THIS WAS AMAZING.

S.T.E.M.-MAZING, AMAZING.

Y'ALL ARE AWESOME.

[ APPLAUSE ] THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.