Female interest sparks new club


Shae Simmons

A 3D printer resting in the computer science room of NCHS available to programming classes and the Girls Who Code club.

Girls Who Code, a national organization that aims to increase the number of women in computer science, was introduced at NCHS in September by Joshmita Chintella (12) and Vidya Kothakota (11). As faculty sponsor of the after school club, AP Computer Science teacher Mrs. Amy Feeney provides a learning environment in the computer science field.

Girls Who Code; however, is not exclusive to just girls. Meeting every Wednesday from 3:30-4:30 p.m in room 228, the organization welcomes male and female students regardless of their previous computer science experience.

While open to all, the club began as a way to increase female interest in the computer sciences, which has traditionally been low. “When I take programming classes at school there’s only a couple girls in each class,” Kothakota said.

There are usually about five to six girls in a computer-related class, compared to 25-30 males. The same ratio is true for Programming and Hack Club. The Girls Who Code club contains multiple members who have never taken a computer science class before.

“I think this club is important,” Chintella said, “because we need to change what people perceive of a programmer and must do so by increasing the number of women who pursue computer science or engineering in general.”

Feeney starts the unfamiliar members off first by watching several short videos provided by the National Girls Who Code curriculum that feature women paving the way in technology.

“It shows creative ways to use computer science,” Feeney said. “A contribution in computer science in a field women wouldn’t necessarily think.”

The coding within the club works with the programming language Python and teaches the use of 3D printing. However, the real depth of coding goes so much deeper than what the club has the potential to introduce.

The NCHS computer science classroom provides tools needed for these projects, and students are able to log in from outside of school anytime for tutorial access. 

Feeney has contacted State Farm looking for mentors to visit and speak to the club about further aspects of computer science. “If we have more girls I’m going to make a push to get more mentors here on a regular basis.”

Feeney’s goal is to give all club members experience and adjust curriculum to areas students are particularly interested in learning more about so they can pursue it. “It’s very open as far as if you want to explore some areas, this is an opportunity for you to do that.”