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Florida Tech’s weVENTURE Launches Girls Who Code Club

Affiliate to National Organization Will Host Two Summer Camps

MELBOURNE, FLA. — weVENTURE powered by Florida Institute of Technology, has launched Girls Who Code Club, a community-based affiliate of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code which seeks to inspire and educate girls and equip them with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities.

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million available jobs in computing-related fields, but the United States is on pace fill only 29 percent of them with computer science graduates. At current rates, only 3 percent will be filled by women.

Girls Who Code, weVENTURE and several community partners are seeking to change that.

The weVENTURE Girls Who Code Club will host two free, five-day summer camps for area high school girls at Melrose Center at the Orange County Public Library in downtown Orlando. The camps will feature fun, innovative training to help young minds learn what it takes to become tech-savvy leaders. Camps will be held June 13-17 and Aug. 8-12.

Leslie Hielema, vice president of the university’s Orlando Center, said programs such as Girls Who Code are one of several key steps toward boosting the number of women in technology.

“At an early age, we need to consistently expose students to programming concepts and how it can be applied to real life. Programs like Girls Who Code can meet this need. Secondly, girls need to see strong and relatable role models in the computing field. Girls Who Code instructors are brilliant and inspiring women in tech,” she said. “And as girls are considering a degree, they need mentorship. Students will be matched with an ongoing mentor who will help them explore degree and school options.”

Florida Tech will offer a full four-year scholarship in a computer field to one eligible participant in the Girls Who Code camps.

Lead instructor of Orlando’s Girls Who Code Club will be Cassandra Wilcox. She is a JavaScript developer and co-founder of the Orlando startup Code Hangar, Inc.

“weVENTURE is thrilled to be a part of the Girls Who Code Club programs, which have already reached upwards of 10,000 girls,” said weVENTURE Orlando Director Shea Glenny. “This program is a key driver towards fulfilling our credo: asking our girls to consider futures as entrepreneurs and technologists. It’s exciting that #girlswhocode become #womenintech, and we’re inspired by Central Florida’s creative and visionary young women.”

Community partners supporting the Girls Who Code initiative include AT&T, Bright House Networks, Canvs, City of Orlando, After-school All-stars, City Year, Collegiate Pathways, Tech Sassy Girlz, The Iron Yard, Junior Achievement, Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Tech Association.

To learn more about weVENTURE’s Girls Who Code Club, and to request an application for one of the summer camps, visit http://weventure.org/girls-who-code/.

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