Knoxville Summer Camp Teaches Girls Power in Coding

Danielle Katz, a multiplatform producer for WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, shares information about how local girls are using their summer to learn new technology skills at Green Magnet Community School. The segment features one of the two activities the girls participated in as a part of the TechGirlz powered summer camp organized by Girls Inc. On Wednesday, students experienced an extended robots TechShop using Edison and Friday took part in the Introduction to VR TechShop. The full article was originally published June 22, 2018 on WBIR-TV Local 10 News.

These girls are not slowing down for the summer. A group of girls from 3rd, 4th and 5th grades spent this week learning to code at Green Magnet Academy.

The lesson was part of a four-week program in which each week has a different theme. This week’s theme was STEM subjects. Girls Inc. of Tennessee Valley leads the program. The goal is to give the program’s participants a fair shot at success. Thomas Proffen, director of a computing and data analytics initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, led the coding class. He said he started a nonprofit, the Oak Ridge Computer Girls, after noticing his daughter did not have the same opportunities to learn coding as boys did.

“When the girls are young, they don’t question whether or not they can learn something new. Most of them just get in there and try,” Proffen said. Proffen incorporated virtual reality and engineering into the girls’ work. He said sometimes young girls shy away from coding activities. “They need more encouragement. But once you have them unleashed, there’s no holding them back,” Proffen said.

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