Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Computer science Ph.D. student quoted in The New York Times about getting girls interested in programming

We are very excited to see that Jacobs School Ph.D. student Stephen Foster quoted in an opinion piece in The New York Times about getting girls interested in programming.
Forster is a co-founder, with fellow Ph.D. students Sarah Foster and Lindsey Handley, of ThoughtSTEM, a nonprofit organization that teaches children how to code here in San Diego. He talked to the author of the New York Times piece, Nitasha Tiku, the editor of Valleyway, Gawker's blog about the tech industry:

“Students kept walking in asking to learn how to code wearing Minecraft T-shirts,’” said Stephen Foster, a founder of the San Diego-based organization ThoughtSTEM, which teaches kids ages 8 to 18 to code in after-school programs and summer camps. “Once it happened the 20th time, we started to realize, ‘Oh, hey, maybe these kids know something that we don’t.’ ”
So ThoughtSTEM started offering Minecraft 101 classes at UC San Diego Extension. The organization also makes a special effort to enroll girls.  Foster told The New York Times:

A hundred students were on ThoughtSTEM’s waiting list for its first Minecraft class two months ago. “I would say that the girls are actually outperforming the boys, at least in my class,” Mr. Foster said. “And it’s very good to see, because as computer scientists, we definitely recognize that there’s a big gender disparity in our field.” He added, “There are just so many girls who play Minecraft who, as far as I’m concerned, are all people who can be swayed to pursue coding — they just don’t realize it yet.”
"ThoughtSTEM is a proud supporter of getting more girls and women into computing," Esper said. "With a majority of female co-founders, we are so excited to be featured as a company making headway, not just in computer science education, but in engaging a more diverse group with curriculum and programs that attract students of all kinds."


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