CORPUS CHRISTI – A group of 15 middle school girls from the coastal bend area recently completed a week-long camp at Del Mar College that could literally change their lives.
It was called “Summer Coding Camp for Girlz” and it was hosted by Del Mar at the emerging technology center on the west campus.
15 girls were recruited from middle schools around the area. And that age group was targeted because that’s the age when most girls seem to start losing interest in science and math.
Dara Betz with Del Mar says, “There’s a stigma that only boys are smart enough to do it so we’re trying to break that stigma with these girls to understand that it’s not, that if you apply yourself you can do anything.”
Once you get these girls to camp you want them to stay, and that’s where the remote-controlled Smartgurlz Barbies come in.
Sandy Riggs, the robotics program coordinator, says the girls love them and that helps kick off the week. She says, “Every day has built up to something a little more challenging, and so on day one they did the Smartgirlz which are the barbies and then code them to drive, dance and sing on their little scooters.”
In the beginning, there were girls like Rylie Richards who says she really wasn’t interested in math and science. She says, “I came here because I wanted to see if this would change my opinion and my thoughts on it, and it really did work cause in a matter of like 30 minutes I knew so much and I am like a pro now.”
Other girls like Miranda Gonzalez from Ricardo, Texas loved the camp because she knows that coding is a skill she’ll need at some point, And Liliana Perez, who’ll attend grant middle school this fall, says her older stepbrother is studying robotics and she thinks she might like to be a robotics engineer.
By all accounts, the camp was a huge success, that will really pay off for these young ladies and our community down the road.
Sandy Riggs says, “Oh my gosh yes, living in this area with the industry, they have lots of positions to fill. And with industries Like Cheniere, A.E.P., Flint Hills, and Whataburger… they have all contributed to first robotics and this camp phenomenally… without them, we couldn’t do this and what better way to invest in your community than to fill those positions with kids from our community.”
Along with the corporate sponsors, a grant from the National Science Foundation helped fund the camp.