Northwest Early College High School young women host Chica Code Camp

Northwest Early College High School isn’t allowing COVID-19 to stop them from being trailblazers in computer science.

The young women at Northwest just wrapped up Chica Code Camp, which this year focused on teaching girls how to code using Makey Makey kits and the basics of 3D design.

Chica Code Camp is an AspireIT program and was started in the summer of 2018 by Northwest student Aya Abdelgawad to introduce middle school girls to coding and technology and is funded by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

Aya graduated in 2019 and this year, Alondra Baquier, who acted as a volunteer for the 2019 camp, applied for the NCWIT funding to continue the camp.

Then, COVID-19 hit, and the future of the Chica Code camp was unsure. Alondra decided to create a hybrid online camp in order to keep the tradition going.

Northwest seniors Kamilla Madera and Lianna Estrada are acting as volunteers and plan to apply for their own funding for Chica Code Camp 2021.

“Since 2013, more than 9,500 girls have received an estimated 295,000 instruction hours through 436 AspireIT programs in 43 states,” said Northwest Computer Science Teacher Catherine Tabor. “Many of whom did not have prior computing experience. And, 75 percent of participants express interest in taking a future computing class.”

Chica code camp has served about 70 middle school girls over its 3 years.

NCWIT AspireIT is designed to teach K-12 girls programming fundamentals and computational thinking in fun, creative, and hands-on environments.

AspireIT participants are ultimately encouraged to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas to future innovations, and its impact is undeniable.