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Second Annual Ohio University Coding Camp teaches middle school girls coding, computer programming

Claire Berlin | Jun 7, 2018

Second Annual Ohio University Coding Camp teaches middle school girls coding, computer programming

ATHENS, Ohio (June 7, 2018)—The second Ohio University Summer Coding Camp, which took place May 29-June 3, hosted 13 students from throughout Ohio and one from West Virginia. The camp is a free program offered by the University to help introduce middle school girls to basic computer programming with the hope of helping them develop skills that can open pathways for them in this rapidly growing career field.

“We created the OHIO Coding Camp to encourage young women to become interested in coding so they could consider a career in that field,” said Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth. “As we learned during the camp, coding and scripting is relevant to nearly every aspect of our lives—from the medical field, to plant biology, banking and the many ways in which we communicate with one another. We shape the schedule so that students received plenty of time to interact with guest speakers, work in teams on group projects and visit various programs and projects around campus that are taking technology to the next level.”

During the week, camp participants had the opportunity to work with and learn from faculty, staff and University students in a variety of majors. Students were broken into three teams to work on separate coding projects building apps, games and websites that focused on animal welfare, protecting the environment and combatting homophobia.

One team created an app that allowed users to select options in an unfolding story to show what happens to many animals when they are abandoned. Another team created a game to illustrate the need for support of youth who begin to identify as LGBTQ.

During the week, participants were able to visit the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, TechGROWTH Ohio and the Innovation Center. Students also attended several guest speaker sessions which included tips on giving presentations and IT and coding career advice.

“We fit a lot of information and into a five-day camp, but we hope that this gives the students something to think about as they make their way through middle school to high school and eventually when they select a college major,” said Titsworth. “Coding is a significant skill that translates directly into jobs. Because the projects were related to social responsibility issues selected by the girls—like protecting animal welfare, combatting homophobia, and protecting the environment—they could see how coding can be used for good in the community and world. Understanding that connection is part of our culture as an engaged liberal arts institution.”

Because the camp is a residential camp, with shared rooms in University Residence Halls, students were able to enjoy entertainment activities in the evenings. The group went bowling, visited Ping Recreation Center and had a movie night.

In 2016, the Grants and Funding Committee of the Ohio University Foundation awarded the camp $27,430.30 in funding from the 1804 Fund. The 1804 Fund finances curricular innovations, programs and activities that improve the undergraduate educational experience and innovations in graduate education. The camp is a collaboration between the Ohio University Scripps College of Communication, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, Office of Multicultural Access and Retention and Ohio University Undergraduate Admissions.

The camp ended on Sunday where students presented their finished coding projects to their families.

For more information about the Ohio University Summer Coding Camp, visit https://www.ohio.edu/scrippscollege/ohiocodingcamp.cfm.

To see photos from the 2018 camp, view the photo album on flickr.

To see coverage of the camp on social media, visit their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.