AT&T recently presented the Florida Institute of Technology with a $35,000 gift that will fund computer science camps for Orlando girls in 6th through 12th grade.
According to an August 13 Space Coast Daily article, the camps, which will begin in January 2016, will host about 40 students. Florida Tech’s weVENTURE women’s business center, along with the university’s Orlando Center, will oversee the camps.
Over the last few years, efforts to encourage girls to pursue career paths in science and technology have steadily increased. The computer science and $14 billion computer server manufacturing industry, for example, continue to be dominated by men. Some estimates indicate that less than 5% of more than one million computer-related jobs will be filled by women in 2020.
“It is critical for our community to prepare girls to pursue 21st-century career opportunities,” said Leslie Hielema, vice president of the university’s Orlando Center. “Florida Tech is happy to join with AT&T to help make that happen.”
At these camps, female students will be able to learn and develop skills like software development and coding. The camps will also teach girls how to work in teams, hone their leadership skills, interact with potential employers, gain insights from role models, optimize their technological creativity and help fellow camp-goers solve problems.
Each student will be assigned to a mentor who will help her consider her options for pursuing software development or computer science as her college major. Hielema told the Space Coast Daily that this approach — of fostering girls’ computer science skills while also mentoring them on their career prospects — aligns with Florida Tech’s “High Tech with a Human Touch” strategy.
“Encouraging girls and young women to consider careers in technology, science and entrepreneurship is core to our efforts in Orlando and across the weVENTURE network,” Shea Glenny, weVENTURE Orlando director, said.