The girls were participating in a capital region all girls summer coding camp where they worked on group projects and learned how to code web sites for social good and to help tackle everyday problems.
(TNS) — Most of the 11 middle school girls who were selected to participate in the AT&T and Capital Region STEM Hub All Girls Summer Coding Camp had never had any experience writing software code before.
But by the end of the two-week camp held at the Capital South Campus Center in Albany's South End, the girls were well on their way to being software developers.
"I took the course because I hadn't actually gotten to experience actual coding," said Analise Magliaro, an eighth grader at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School who participated in the camp. "I discovered what HTML code (used to create websites) is, and how to actually code. It was just a really great experience."
Magliaro and the 10 other middle school students who attended were chosen from a group of 112 girls who were nominated by their teachers. The girls had to have a 90 average or above, excellent attendance and a "good attitude," according to school district officials.
AT&T was the main sponsor, underwriting $20,000 in costs for the camp, according to district officials. The Center for Economic Growth of Albany was also involved through its Capital Region STEM Hub program. Albany Can Code, the educational non-profit that helps teach coding to adults and children, provided the classroom programming, along with Capital Region BOCES.
The students worked on group projects to develop web sites for social good and to help certain parts of the population tackle everyday problems.
"In my group we chose anxiety for students who are in school and we were researching and finding technological fixes for some of the problems and helping kids with anxiety," Magliaro said during a tour of the camp on Thursday. "We found that school causes a lot of anxiety for students, and we created a web site that creates a safe and protective experience where you listen to music and learn more about anxiety disorders."
Among those who attended the tour were Assembly member Patricia Fahy and state Sen. Neil Breslin, both of whom represent the city of Albany.
Breslin said that when he was growing up in Albany, girls were not afforded the same opportunities to get into the science and technology fields, even though they were often smarter and harder working.
Breslin told the students that they were welcome any time to come to the Capitol to visit the Legislature.
"Come to the Capitol, see what goes on, see what we are doing," Breslin said. "And you should check on us to make sure that we are playing a role that will continue to provide opportunity on an equal basis."
AT&T sponsored the camp as part of its Believe New York and AT&T Believes community campaigns aimed at social good.
Amy Kramer, president of AT&T New York, said students who are exposed to science and technology at the middle school level are much more likely to keep with it than those who are first exposed in high school.
"I am so impressed by these remarkable girls and am excited to see their final projects on using technology to curb cyberbullying and promote online safety, critical issues AT&T is dedicated to addressing," Kramer said.
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