ST. CHARLES – The Fox Valley Girls Coding Club, which was launched in 2016 by St. Charles North sophomore Isabella Maki, has now served more than 22 girls age 14 to 18 with more than 40 hours of computer science education, according to a news release.
The group also hosts a web chat or in-person talk with professionals from all sectors of the tech industry every month. Members have already had the opportunity to meet with multiple CEOs, specialists in cybersecurity, design and software architecture.
The Fox Valley Girls Coding Club members attended a tech workshop March 2 especially designed for them by Jellyvision, a Chicago software company.
Jellyvision has been ranked as one of the top companies to work for in Chicago for the last four years, according to the news release.
While at Jellyvision, mentors worked with club members on one of their current coding projects/challenges, and they chatted with Jellyvision CEO Amanda Lannert, the release stated.
Jellyvision’s creative department assisted the group with improving the graphic and artistic impact of their projects.
The girls participated in a cross departmental panel discussion and learned how to maximize the impact of their personal LinkedIn pages, the release stated.
By connecting club members with female software developers as weekly mentors, working with professionals in the tech industry and encouraging the girls to participate in local hack-a-thons and summer coding opportunities, the group is building a technology pipeline for the future in the Fox Valley, the release stated.
In 2018, the club had a four-member team participate in Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Hack and won an award for their app, Just Food It. The app combined information and activities focused on healthy habits and exercise demos to keep teens fit.
Maki participated in Girls Who Code, a seven-week summer immersion program at JP Morgan Chase in Chicago this past summer.
The club currently has multiple members taking AP computer science at their local high schools, addressing gender parity in the classroom as well, the release stated.
Additionally, the club has members being accepted by top computer science programs at the collegiate level, including University of Illinois and DePaul University, the release stated.
“It has been so exciting to see this club that was once just an idea turn into a thriving, evolving entity that welcomes girls from various high schools to come together to learn computer science, challenge ourselves, problem solve together and secure spots for ourselves in computer science at the collegiate level,” Maki stated in the release.
“I am so proud of what we have created here and so thankful for the support of community members who are our teachers, to 25N Coworking for hosting our meetings and establishing our Jellyvision partnership, and to all of the tech professionals who take time on a Friday night to web chat or meet with us in person,” Maki stated in the release.
She continued to state that, "Knowing that [Fox Valley Girls Coding Club] is playing a role in helping more girls in our community feel confident and excited about pursuing computer science in college and as a career has been so amazing. And, this year, I got to welcome my younger sister, Paige, into [Fox Valley Girls Coding Club] and will be passing the club along to her and our other younger members as I graduate. I can’t wait to come back to visit and to see where they take [the club] in the future.”
Fox Valley Girls Coding Club is open to girls, ages 14 to 18, who want to learn more about computer science and coding. This year’s club meetings will continue through May 4 at 25N Coworking, 25 N. River Lane, Geneva.
The club will resume meetings for the 2018-19 school year in October. Full meeting schedules, project summaries and its mission statement can be found at foxvalleygirlscodingclub.com.
For information on supporting or joining, email firstname.lastname@example.org to tackle gender parity issues in the tech industry.