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Why Should Girls Learn to Code? 12th Graders Share their Personal Experience and Enthusiasm for Computer Science

March 10, 2022

The Educational Technology Department at Léman works hard to inspire our young learners to be curious about technology to see it as something we can not only consume but create. We sat down with two exceptional IB Computer Science students, Gabriella and Giselle Douzet who gave us a look into what interests and excites them about Computer Science and how they think the knowledge and skills they developed through their studies will benefit them in the future.

 How did your interest in computer science develop?

Giselle: I started getting interested in computer science back in middle school. In eighth grade, I met with a teacher outside of school once a week with a group of friends, and she taught us different coding languages. And then the next summer, I went to an I.T. tech camp for computer science. When I joined Léman in the ninth grade, I took the intro to computer science with Mr. Taneal. Then in 11th grade, I continued with IB Computer Science.

Gabriella: I'd always been exposed to it, whether it was like special computer days at school or summer camp, but it was always something that was encouraged, and we were exposed to it and I got to experiment on things like Scratch and Hopscotch, which is very simple, easy to learn code that's easy for young children to grasp. Over the years I've always loved looking at specific machines, watching video editing in CGI movies, and watching my friends play video games and wondering how it was made and how pushing a certain button makes the character throw a punch or something like that.

What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?                                                                                                                        

Giselle: There are two things that I made recently that I'm proud of. One is my Computer Science IA which isn't quite complete but I'm having fun working on it. The other is a website that I created to showcase my artwork. One of the colleges I applied to asked for a digital portfolio of some kind for the application. They said it could be an Instagram page or a portfolio but I thought making a website would be more fun and display my Computer Science ability as well as my art in the application. 

Gabriella: For computer science internal assessments, I'm making a video game. It’s a virtual hangman game where the computer picks a random word to have the user guess and you put in letters little by little. And if you don't guess correctly, it will draw one of the little body parts of the hangman like you would if you were using a piece of paper or a dry erase board. I'm finishing it up right now. I've had it like almost all my friends play it. I've even had a couple of teachers try it out. They all had a lot of fun.

How do you think your Computer Science studies will benefit you in the future?

Giselle: I’m happy that I’ve had the chance to explore multiple computer science languages including HTML, CSS and Javascript. Here at Léman, we mostly focus on JavaScript, which is one of the main ones. If HTML is the skeleton of a website, JavaScript is the nervous system. It tells you what functions you need to do and how to perform them. So, when you're making a website, the structure of it and how it looks is HTML and CSS. And then if you have any commands and a button that needs to do something or want to calculate something, all of that is going to be JavaScript. I will most definitely be using this language later.

Gabriella:  I've always known that I want to go into computer science when I go to college, but I also really like visual arts, so I’d like to combine the two in college and in my career. I think computer science and art really compliment each other and I’ve been trying to find my way with digital art as well as painting, which is my other interest. I'm hoping to find a program or a college that offers me the ability to intersect the two through something like game design, video editing, or animation.

What would you say to a girl who’s interested in getting involved in Computer Science?

Gabriella: If you are interested in Computer Science, don't let the fear of feeling excluded stop you, because especially these days, so many girls are going into STEM fields. You might be the only two, but you're always going to have at least one other girl in your class. Don't worry about it and just don't pay attention to it to any immature boys that might come your way and make you feel unwelcome so far. I've never really felt unwelcomed in any of the classes I've had. I've never felt intimidated by my male peers because of my coding skills or my proficiency in the class. As of right now, in my accelerated computer science class, there are more girls than boys, so I don't really feel intimidated in my class at all.

Giselle: I would encourage every girl to do it because girls are naturally creative! That's the number one reason. If you're going into website design, you need to be creative on some level, and it helps even more if you know digital design because that plays a part in website development as well. 

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