Google encourages Lowcountry girls to code

Only 0.4% of female college freshmen plan to study computer sciences, and Google is hoping to change that. There is a big push across the country for children to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects. Tuesday, Google’s “Made with Code” program was in the Lowcountry trying to inspire young girls to work toward a tech career.

63 girls from St. Stephen Middle School were at the coding event. They started by watching the movie Hidden Figures, which features three women who made history working in the fields of math, programming, and engineering at NASA. It’s a movie that is really speaking to young girls.

Sixth grader Angelina Wall says, “They have created a path for us to be able to do things that women couldn’t do before.”

And making them reconsider their interests in science, technology, engineering and math.

Wall says, “I always thought, math and science are not really my favorite subjects, but after watching this, it kind of made me want to go for it more.”

That’s what Google wants to hear. After the movie, they gave the kids an introduction to coding. They think the way to get more girls into computer sciences is just letting them know it’s an option.

Lilyn Hester with Google Public Affairs says, “When you say have you ever met an engineer? Have you ever met a computer scientist? The answer is usually no. So what we are doing is trying to inspire these young women.”

Because the jobs will be there when they graduate. Computer Science jobs are predicted to be some of the highest paying over the next decade, more than $15,000 more than average.

Hester says, “By having more young girls experienced in coding and computer science there will be more opportunities. We just need to get them in the door, keep them there and have a great support network for them.”

The girls told News 2 after seeing the smart and strong women presented in Hidden Figures, nothing is stopping them from following in their footsteps.

Sixth grader Makirah Gamble says, “You need to believe in yourself first before you know what you want to do. And if you have faith in yourself, you can do anything you want. So yeah, be great.”

Google is focusing on girls in middle school because about 74% of girls that age are interested in a STEM career. But if they don’t receive the support and encouragement at that time, they are likely to change their mind in high school.

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