July 8, 2020-- Today's TR:TechReady virtual Summer Coding Camp session ended in an ovation of sign-language clapping.
Kit August, who represents IEEE IEEE NJ Coast Section PACE SIGHT Group (Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology), Do Good Things Justice for All, served as a special guest speaker. August spoke with dozens of young women participating in the Girls Coding Camp about careers in technology, her experiences as a pioneer for women in engineering and robotics and opportunities to work on the PACE SIGHT Group project.
The Do Good Things Justice for All work group focuses on inequities experienced by people with hearing loss and developing technology based solutions to reduce inequities. They specifically address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) Gender Equality to reduce inequities for girls and women in inventing and patents through training and outreach. The project also aligns with UN SDG’s 4 Quality Education, and 5, 10, and 16 -- aiming to reduce disparities and inequalities in the Justice System for those with hearing loss, to keep seniors and special needs individuals communicating with the world, and to reduce inequities and inequalities for girls and women in inventing.
The summer camps are funded by the TR:TechReady coding initiative funded by the Office of Naval Research. In spring 2018, Toms River Regional Schools was awarded the largest competitive grant in district history—a three-year coding project for high school students worth more than $763,000 funded by the ONR. TR:TechReady introduces teachers and students to industry-critical coding languages, most never seen in our schools, and their real-world applications. ONR promotes science and technology applications for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and understands the ways in which district, industry, and naval goals can be aligned. TechReady includes free summer coding camps as well as training, activities, competitions, and access to resources throughout the school year.
Here are some of the benefits of these programs so far:
- Participation of young women has grown from approximately 20 percent to almost 50 percent.
- Student participation in camps has more than doubled.
- Two new coding courses have been added to all three high schools with dual enrollment available from Ocean County College in alignment with NJDOE Student Learning Standards and in anticipation of new 2022 graduation requirements.
Labs at each secondary school have been upgraded to equip them to operate more advanced STEM/coding programs.
- This program has increased partnerships that provide student mentoring, field experiences and interest in STEM and coding.