Touro Students Teach Girls to Code
Touro Students Aim to Close Gender Gap in Tech Field Through Girls Who Code Program
Every other Sunday, Devorah Klahr can be found at Touro’s Lander College for Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Brooklyn sharing her love of computer science with local high school girls. “I want other girls to know that technology is a field they can go into, and that it is actually a lot of fun!” Devorah said. Her interest was sparked by a design course in high school, and solidified at Touro when she realized she enjoyed the hands on aspect of IT, and that she gets to harness her creativity and logic. “I hope that at the end of the day the girls I’ve worked with will at least consider it as a potential career.”
Touro professor and computer science chair Shmuel Fink brought the Girls Who Code program to Touro two years ago. It is a year-long program that teaches computer coding to high school girls in order to spark their interest in lucrative careers in technology. Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology. According to Girls Who Code, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields. U.S. graduates are on track to fill 29 percent of those jobs. Women are on track to fill just 3 percent.
“This is a great opportunity for everyone. Girls who attend the club get a chance to try out computer science and get a head start on a career,” said Dr. Fink. “They learn valuable skills, even if they never work in technology. Touro students who facilitate are able to demonstrate to prospective employers that they have leadership skills and that they are both passionate and knowledgeable about technology.”
Girls Who Code provides a national curriculum for the course. Devorah, and the other women computer science majors at Touro who teach the program rely on it. They also enhance the experience for the students by showing a short video related to the week’s activities. As for Devorah, she recently landed a position as a web developer for a large health care company.