CS Education Week to kickoff coding clubs

Play Like a Girl and Belmont University’s Department of Computer Science have teamed up to host Hour of Code – a free, live mentoring event that aims to teach basic coding skills to middle school girls in Nashville during the first week of December and will continue to reach more students throughout 2023. 

To help raise awareness of the value of coding for girls and women across Nashville, Belmont University students and faculty are co-hosting the 10th annual Hour of Code event. This year’s program will kick off Play Like a Girl’s newest edition of Girls Who Code (GWC) Clubs at STRIVE Collegiate Academy in the Donelson area. 

GWC Clubs are after-school programs designed to create a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models for 6-8th grade students using computer science to change the world. Clubs are completely free and offer fun activities through a flexible curriculum that adapts to girls’ unique needs. This year, all Play Like a Girl GWC Clubs will be hybrid – with some sessions held in-person and some entirely online.

“The support of Belmont students and faculty is instrumental in our effort to engage young women in computer science,” said Dr. Kimberly Clay, founder and CEO of Play Like a Girl. “Today, computer science provides a basic foundation for all careers. Thanks to these volunteers, we will be able to introduce 35 STRIVE students to coding this year.”

Play Like a Girl closing gap in computer science

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2031, there will be an additional 682,800 new jobs in computer science available and only 57,343 new computer science graduates annually with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest growing profession within STEM+, but only 8% of STEM+ graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds.

While significant gains have been made in teaching computer science in schools, only 51% of high schools in the U.S. teach computer science according to a 2021 report on the State of Computer Science Education. In addition, Black and Hispanic students, students receiving free and reduced lunch, and students from rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides access to this critical subject.

Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts worldwide.

Registration for this year’s Hour of Code mentoring event is free and open to the public at https://iplaylikeagirl.org/events/.

The 2022 Hour of Code event co-hosted by Play Like a Girl and Belmont University can be followed online via @iplaylikeagirl and @belmontcsm or by searching #HourOfCode and #ReadyforAnyField on Instagram or Twitter.