OEConnection LLC (OEC), a leading technology employer in Northeast Ohio, sponsored a girls-only coding camp in partnership with TECH CORPS and RITE (Regional Information Technology Engagement), on July 25-29, 2016, at Baldwin Wallace University. This was the first all-girls camp OEC has sponsored in partnership with TECH CORPS and RITE. Twenty high school girls attended the week-long camp designed to provide students with hands-on coding experience to learn computer programming concepts and skills.
This is the second year that OEC has sponsored the TECH CORPS and RITE coding camp. OEC sponsorship allowed participating students to access an interactive curriculum taught by two certified TECH CORPS instructors, a Camp Kit that included supplies and software, evaluations and assessments, training and ongoing support.
Amy French, OEC Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, stated, “A gender gap exists in the computer science field. We want to help bridge that gap by encouraging more young women to pursue careers in technology. We were excited to partner with TECH CORPS and RITE to launch a girls-only coding camp, where young women are empowered and fully immersed in the coding experience.”
“We were delighted that OEC, as a leading RITE Board Member company and founding sponsor of the coding camps, asked to roll out the first all-girls camp with plans to build on this success,” said Courtney DeOreo, Director of RITE. DeOreo continued, “Helping regional employers to attract and build an inclusive workforce, particularly in information technology careers, is a strategic imperative. Thus, efforts to engage more girls in our high school programs, like these camps, are critical.”
“Research has shown that encouragement and exposure are key, controllable indicators for whether or not young women decide to pursue a Computer Science degree,” said Lisa M. Chambers, National Executive Director, TECH CORPS. “TECH CORPS programs, like High School Coding Camp, incorporate these indicators and also connect girls to near-peer role models from local universities and companies like OEC.”
TECH CORPS Instructor and University of Akron undergraduate, Tara Snipes, shares her experience with the Coding Camp students, “I had such a great time spending my week with such intelligent young ladies. It was so much fun having such a bright group of individuals who were excited to learn about technology. The steps they are taking now will certainly prepare them for a great college foundation and a future career in the STEM fields in which they are interested.”
TECH CORPS Instructor and Kent State University Innovation Fellow, Tapti Saha, added, “This camp helped the girls come out of their shells and show their programming and creativity talent; the camp also empowered them to lead and be confident.”
As a result of the positive feedback from the instructors, parents and students, plans are in place to continue offering girls-only High School Coding Camps.