Computer science, engineering students hosted Girl Scout camp

Computer science, engineering students hosted Girl Scout camp

Computing for All member Allison Buckley helps a Girl Scout program a robot at last month's Girl Scout camp.
Computing for All member Allison Buckley helps a Girl Scout program a robot at last month's Girl Scout camp.

Two University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Computer Science and Engineering student groups came together last month to show young women that computing can be for everyone — including Girl Scouts.

The Computer Science and Engineering Ambassadors and Computing for All invited local Girl Scouts to attend an all-day computing camp where they engaged in unplugged activities, coded in Minecraft and programmed LEGO robots.

The CSE Ambassadors are dedicated to giving back to the community through computing. Computing for All is focused on promoting diversity in tech and on campus. The Girl Scout camp was an event that fit the missions of both groups.

“I think they discovered the power in collaboration,” said Ann Koopmann, adviser to both student groups. “They combined their powers to show that computing can be for everyone and that doing good in the community goes hand in hand with that.”

Both groups hope encouraging more girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math activities at an early age will also encourage them to consider pursuing it as a career.

“It’s hard to find female role models in STEM. There aren’t a lot of us,” said Allison Buckley, Computing for All member. “It’s important to show younger girls that we do exist and that women can do it, and they’re capable of doing it.”

While a few girls had coding knowledge prior to the camp, most of them were fairly new to the concept. Over the course of the day, the mentors saw significant progress with even the most inexperienced beginners.

Buckley said one of the main goals of the camp was not only to help the Girl Scouts learn computing, but also help them see that it can be fun.

“We had a few ask after, ‘When can we do this again?’” said Buckley. “That was exciting to see them wanting to just keep doing it. We’re hoping to make this a once-a-semester type of event.”