Grinnell’s Girls Who Code group strives to close gender gap in tech jobs

Grinnell College March 29, 2024

Small, circular orb robots that can light up and change direction.

The Ragnar Thorisson ’11 Endowed Memorial Fund for Social Justice was used to purchase small, circular robots that can light up and change direction.

After learning coding in all-girl programs growing up, Mia Hines ’24 and Istar Abdullahi ’25 can attest to the effectiveness and importance of the Girls Who Code program in its mission to foster diversity in computer science. Hines and Abdullahi are leaders in the Grinnell College Girls Who Code student organization that is mentoring fifth- and sixth-grade girls and nonbinary students at Grinnell Middle School.

“It’s discouraging to see the statistics that show how few women are in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] careers, so we start with middle school students because studies have shown that girls and nonbinary people start walking away at that age from STEM because of those environments,” Hines says. “We can provide programming that they can feel comfortable and excited about. They will gain confidence in their STEM abilities and grow confidence within themselves. We want to fight against the gender gap but also grow them as people.”

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