Sixth TechGirlz Summer Camp Switches Gears to Robotics

Middle school girls can build and program an Arduino robot

July 10, 2016 (Philadelphia) – TechGirlz, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls to be future technology leaders, will host its sixth annual Summer Camp from July 10-14, 2017. For five days, middle school girls will join forces to build a robotic vehicle at Villanova University.

Building on a curriculum of workshops available year-round, TechGirlz’s Summer Camp puts technology into the hands of 12-15 year old girls. Building on previous camp sessions on entrepreneurship, this year’s focus will be on Programming and Engineering – Building a Robot with Arduino.

Arduino is a leading open-source hardware and software ecosystem. It is one of the most popular tools for STEM education, helping hundreds of thousands of students, designers, engineers, developers and makers to innovate in music, games, smart homes, farming, autonomous vehicles, and more.

Learning programming, basic electronics, and engineering using an Arduino microcontroller, TechGirlz campers will assemble robots and program them to navigate their surroundings. At the end of the week, campers will give a presentation and demonstration of their robots, which they will take home.

“Technology is so much more than coding,” said Tracey Welson-Rossman, Founder and CEO of TechGirlz. “Through TechGirlz’s workshops and camps, we want girls to experience everything from video game design to newsroom production, and of course, robotics.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a University of Washington study demonstrating the impact of activities like robotics workshops on girls’ confidence in STEM. In the study, 96 six-year-olds were surveyed about whether girls or boys are “better” at computer programming and robotics. One third of participants answered a standalone survey, a second group answered it after taking part in a storytelling game, while a third group programmed a robot before giving their input. In the end, the group that worked on the robot reduced the gender gap in overall technology interest by 42 percent, and the gap in self-efficacy by 80 percent. According to the study’s co-organizers, group activities such as summer camps present natural opportunities to ignite and sustain girls’ interest in STEM.

The TechGirlz Summer Camp, now in its sixth year, was designed to address this very issue. TechGirlz is working to close this gap by reaching girls at the critical middle school age, and championing the diversity of career options in the industry.

TechGirlz’s 2017 Summer Camp was made possible with support from AT&T and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Our sponsorship of TechGirlz Summer Camp is one way we can help prepare the next generation of women tech leaders and innovators for the Philadelphia region – and the nation,” said Joseph Divis, Assistant Vice President for AT&T External Affairs. “The skills they’ll learn and sharpen at the camp are the kinds of skills we look for in new hires at AT&T. We’re thrilled to work with TechGirlz to support this year’s camp and excited to see the projects the girls develop.”

For a full schedule of camp programming, visit TechGirlz online.

About TechGirlz

TechGirlz inspires young women to shatter the statistics. The organization’s aim is to help adolescent girls understand that a future in technology does not necessarily equate to “a boring computer job,” but instead transcends the cubicle into nearly every field imaginable. By encouraging women to participate in science and technology today, as well as providing a solid foundation of peers, mentors and positive role models, TechGirlz hopes to spark innovation, exhilaration and motivation in young women to become tomorrow’s tech leaders.

About Villanova

Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine. To this day, Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges.