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Czajka calls for Girls Who Code

Czajka (far left) and Kulbis (far right) explaining the club at its informational meeting

Czajka (far left) and Kulbis (far right) explaining the club at its informational meeting

Charlie Connelly, Staff Reporter

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With the electronic world being an ever so rapidly adapting facet of life, there are many subsequent adjustments that need to be made to simply keep up. However, in the spectrum of female coding, unfortunately girls today aren’t keeping up; they’re playing catch up.

According to Girls Who Code, in 1984, girls represented 37% of all computer science programs whereas today, they represent a meager 12%. Additionally, while women make up half of the current US workforce, only 25% of them have jobs in technical and computing fields.

To help combat this advancing issue, AP Stats and Computer Science teacher Sandy Czajka has established the first ever Girls Coding club at RB. Her hope? That girls realize the endless doors that may be opened with a little hands on exposure to the “way of the future” that is coding.

With a plethora of computer science courses under her belt at universities such as St. Xavier, DePaul , Manhattan College, and Fordham, Czajka has more than enough experience to guide her girls and teach them the rudimentary skills that could possibly lead to a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field. Before her teaching career began, Czajka worked as a pension actuary where she was responsible for pension plans or working with a programmer to develop the code.

Working alongside Czajka as the other volunteer for the club, pending Board approval, is engineer Ruta Kulbis, mother of two current RB students, Lukas a Junior and Vasara, a freshman, as well as two RB graduates Kovas and Vidas. Kulbis is currently employed by Accenture where she works with and supervises computer programmers.

“Most importantly I am hoping the girls in the club have fun,” Czajka said. “I hope the girls find an appreciation for computer science they may not have had before.  I also hope they start to see computer science as something that can help them pursue a variety of careers and make them successful in the future in many different areas.”

While fun is absolutely the main focal point of this fresh face to RB, their mission is something that not only the members of the club come to know, but the entire school as well. The mission statement reads as follows:

“Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. At RB our mission this year is to expose and encourage girls to study and pursue careers in the STEM fields, especially Computer Science.”

As far as what would like to be accomplished application wise, time in the club will be spent on animation, computation media (photo editing with code), digital music, web design, mobile apps, and other areas of interest to the girls. Very much unlike a typical classroom setting, the Girls Coding club at RB will absolutely have much more freedom to explore and pursue areas of interest to the members.

With 33 girls having already signed up or shown an interest following the informational meeting, there is no doubt that there is a prevalent interest in the club. The club, although large, still has plenty of room for any girls that are willing to put their nose to the grindstone, but have a great experience in the process.

“We, of course, are still open for new members, and so all girls are encouraged to come by and check us out,” Czajka said.

With an all Girls Coding club establishing its inaugural year this fall, the subsequent question rather obviously becomes, “What about the guys?”  For now, with the current trends in the Computer Science fields of the nation, it seemed that a Girls Coding club first was essential.

However, Czajka elaborated on the possibility of a guys coding club saying, “My hope is that we can sponsor some events where boys come to learn about some areas from the members as the club evolves over the year.  We are definitely looking at ways to include boys at various points in time, but as the club is brand new to RB, we are not certain what these opportunities might look like at this time.”

While it might not be launched in the near future, the potential for a male coding club definitely exists.

“I ultimately want all students, both male and female; to see the exciting possibilities computer science holds for everyone.  Computer science is a vital part of all our lives and understanding it makes us all better prepared to handle the future,” she said.

For now, the club of enthusiastic ladies plans to meet once a week in computer lab 252, Monday mornings at 7:15 am, beginning September 22.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Czajka calls for Girls Who Code