For decades, girls have trailed boys in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields such as computer science, engineering, chemistry and math, but COMPUGIRLS is working to change that.
COMPUGIRLS is a program for teen girls grades 8 to 12 from school districts around the Denver metro area. The program is being offered through the University of Colorado Denver by the School of Education and Human Development. The girls are working on different aspects of technology, including learning how to use digital cameras, several types of software and the different tools on the Internet.
For the program each girl must pick a partner and then a topic to research. These research projects must include a podcast, a video, evidence of their own research on the topic and five to 10 external sources. The research must also have both qualitative and quantitative componants.
The teachers for the program, Erika Hyzer and Jennifer Mitchum, are working with the girls to learn how to do a well-researched project, how to work with partners and how to use technology to enhance the project.
“We are really excited to be a part of this program,” Mitchum said, “because the world needs more educated women to be in positions of power in the sciences.”
There is a wide range of topics on which the girls have chosen to do their research, such as whaling and teen pregnancy.
“I have learned a lot from several different websites” Raell Pryor, participating student, said of her research. She added that she was really excited to be a part of the program.
COMPUGIRLS is working toward decreasing the gap between boys and girls not only in K to 12 but also at the college level.