Coding Sisters Bring App Development to Middle School Girls

Roseville, MN - September 2018 On August 13, 2018, teenage sisters Grace Su (age 17) and Cindy Su (age 13) created and led a free two-week app development camp called Girls APPspirations at the Roseville Library. The program leaders stated, "We wanted to provide an opportunity for female students to discover the exciting opportunities technology offers at a young age since women are underrepresented in the technology field." With the sisters guidance, twenty-four girls in grades four through eight gathered in five different small groups, and each group developed an Android app in MIT App Inventor addressing a social issue they were interested in. Grace was the program leader who won a program grant from the National Center for Women & Information Technology AspireIT outreach initiative and taught the programs curriculum. Together with Cindy the co-leader, the grant was able to fund the teaching of twenty-four girls of different backgrounds using the App Inventor Two book curriculums app project tutorials. At the end of the camp, the leaders invited a female guest speaker who talked to the girls about how she arrived at her job as a senior big data developer. Students then showcased their apps, earned gift card prizes, received program certificates, and got a list of helpful educational websites to continue programming after the camp. Students and parents gave feedback saying the girls were really engaged and enjoyed learning programming through developing their own apps with App Inventor. Grace and Cindy concluded, "Girls' APPspirations was a great experience for us teaching girls how to develop apps. We hope students were encouraged to continue exploring technology and its careers through their camp experience." For more details about Girls' APPspirations, click the following links: Camp Information Portal from AspireIT News release with more details and pictures