Closing the tech gender and diversity gap through coding

WNYT Staff
Updated: December 23, 2019 03:39 PM
Created: July 12, 2019 12:19 PM

ALBANY – Tucked away in a second floor nondescript classroom on Warren Street with a flickering projector tied to a laptop sit 15 soon-to-be eighth graders. This is how they are spending part of their summer.

"I love this stuff," says Zoey Volmer of Hackett Middle School. "I just have always liked STEM and wanting to make a difference in the community and I feel it's really important to just so we can keep moving forward and expanding."


She's not alone. The kids from Hackett, Myers and O'Neal Middle Schools are part of the AT&T Capital Region STEMHub All-Girls Summer Coding Camp. The free two-week class covers cyber-bullying prevention, online safety and web design.

"So a lot of what we see is that when young women get into the tech space they have a lot of ideas that just haven't been given full voice yet and that's what we want them to do," said Albany Can Code program manager Stacy Bressette. "Really, we want them to know that this is a career option for them if they fall in love with it, but also just to think of themselves as future movers and shakers in any capacity."

It's estimated that by 2020 there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEM job with more than half made up of computer and coding careers. The camp is coordinated by Capital Region BOCES, Albany City Schools, and the Center for Economic Growth. AT&T has contributed $20,000 to the program.

"STEM is solving problems at the end of the day and however that's going to be solved ranges from building jet turbines to making web pages," said teacher Greg Westover.

"I think it's interesting, because I haven't really gotten to do any of this coding and like going really into it, so this was interesting and fun to learn it," said Bianca Grabocka, a student at Hackett MS.

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