WiSTEM hosts Techgirlz coding workshop to inspire youth about computer science


Kinnera Mulam

Women in STEM (WiSTEM) kick off their Techgirlz programming workshop by asking participants what coding is in their words. After, club members led the attendees in a series of coding exercises on the website Blockly.

by Kinnera Mulam, Co-STEM Editor

Women in STEM (WiSTEM) organized an event for 12 club members to host their virtual Techgirlz programming workshop for girls of ages 11 to 14 on Nov. 21.

CompTIA, the organization that WiSTEM partnered with for the Techgirlz event, hosts similar workshops with other high schools in the nation. WiSTEM began planning for the event on Oct. 30 by assigning sections of the lesson to club members and by conducting two run throughs on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15. The workshop aimed to both develop the participants’ coding skills through various activities and inspire them to stay involved in STEM, per WiSTEM’s club mission to empower women in the field. 

Club members kicked off the event by discussing real-world applications for programming while the participants shared their levels of programming experience in the Zoom chat. To introduce the thought process required to write a program, WiSTEM members completed exercises from the website Blockly with the participants. Through activities such as Puzzle and Maze, the attendees learned basic programming concepts such as while loops and if else statements.

“I hope that the participants were able to gain more exposure to the computer science field of STEM,” WiSTEM member Ipsita Mandal (11) said. “I also hope we piqued their interest in different platforms that teach programming such as Blockly, which was great because it had activities for people with none to lots of experience with programming.”

After walking participants through more advanced Blockly exercises, club members concluded the workshop by encouraging participants to explore other programming websites to learn more about the topic. Through the event, Ipsita hopes that the participants will continue to explore their interest in programming by delving into more complex topics. 

“Just being able to teach the younger kids is rewarding both to them and to me as well,” Ipsita said. “It’s up to us to spark interest in them and it’s honestly really exciting to do that.”