Stanford summer program brings girls into tech
- The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory’s Outreach Summer program offers a two-week day camp for 10th grade girls that focuses on real-world applications of AI and how they can benefit society.
- Ed Tech Magazine reports students experiment with controllers that steer hexacopter drones, learn coding to analyze data and program robotics, get an intro to Stanford’s self-driving car, and contribute to innovative research in robotics and computer vision.
- The camp offers girls connections to their peers who are also interested in STEM education, and it provides female role models — whether they are college student volunteers or faculty.
Girls seem to be interested in STEM concepts at the same rate as boys when they are young children, but at every level of the education ladder, girls shift gears and move toward other fields. One concern that STEM leaders have identified is that misperceptions encourage this shift. When people think of computer science, for example, they think of nerdy boys sitting by themselves in dark rooms coding. The Stanford camp’s focus on real-world impact works to correct the ideas girls have about career options for computer scientists and it reflects what other programs have tried to do to expand gender diversity.
Girls seem to want to positively impact the world through their work. Key to maintaining a gender balance in STEM classes throughout the entire K-12 system could be as simple as reframing courses, changing their names and doing a better job of curating accurate expectations.
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