High school girls pair with Stanford at Coding Camp

Celeste Tran/SPECIAL TO THE Town Crier
Local high school students join forces with Stanford University mentors to create original programs at a previous Girls Teaching Girls to Code event.

Stanford University’s Girls Teaching Girls to Code program sponsored its fifth annual Code Camp last week, inviting high school girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields to learn from Stanford women mentors.

Approximately 200 high school girls and 40 Stanford mentors attended this year’s Code Camp, including students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Homestead and St. Francis high schools. The event aims to help girls new to STEM subjects learn programming basics, and offers different tracks in computer science with topics ranging from web development to virtual reality.

As the world becomes more technology-based, coding opens up more opportunities for youth. One of the lessons of Code Camp is that computer science is a versatile field shaped by each participant’s own interests.

“If you expose people to computer science earlier on, they’re more likely to do it in the future,” said Caroline Ho, a Stanford sophomore and a member of the Girls Teaching Girls to Code team.

Camp instructors taught programming basics using the platform CodeHS, a program created to expose students to new opportunities with code. Camp attendees created original programs at their own pace with CodeHS, which emphasizes a hands-on, visual approach to computer science rather than focusing on syntax.

In the afternoon, students attended specialized tracks taught by volunteers. This year, Girls Teaching Girls to Code offered eight different tracks. One popular track was Artificial Intelligence.

To show how far AI has come, the mentors and attendees conducted a Turing Test, which is used to test the intelligence of a machine by asking it questions whose answers should be indistinguishable from a human’s. When a chatbot was asked, “What is love?” it replied, “Baby don’t hurt me, no more.”

Code Camp is Girls Teaching Girls to Code’s largest event of the year. The organization also hosts smaller workshops during the year. In the past, the group has hosted a company tour at Box and a CS+X panel featuring Stanford women in STEM.

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