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Girls Who Code: Empowering college women in STEM

Members+of+Girls+Who+Code+at+the+clubs+first+meeting+Feb.+26+2024.
Michaela Beck
Members of Girls Who Code at the club’s first meeting Feb. 26 2024.

Girls Who Code College Loop, a recently formed student organization at Iowa State, is overflowing with a passion for technology and coding. By bridging the gender gap in STEM fields and fostering a supportive community for aspiring women programmers, the club aims to make an impact on campus.

“[Girls Who Code] is a national organization in high schools and lower-level education. It also extended into college; that’s why they are called loops,” said Michaela Beck, co-president of Girls Who Code. “A lot of universities have their own extensions of the Girls Who Code organization.”

Beck, a junior in technical communications and data science, said the club was started in the fall 2023 semester but finished the approval and establishment process in recent weeks.

“We are looking to build a supportive community for young women in STEM at ISU, and our goal is to bridge the gender gap in technology,” said Nayma Garcia, secretary of Girls Who Code and a senior in software engineering. “We plan on meeting weekly, Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30, and our main focus right now is to help other women on campus find a sisterhood that can otherwise be hard to find in technology classes and STEM majors.”

Kaitlyn Hoyme, co-president of Girls Who Code and a junior in computer science, is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment where women can thrive, express themselves freely and embrace opportunities to grow and learn.

“We support women in the technology field by creating a supportive environment where they feel comfortable enough to express themselves and take risks that can lead to learning experiences that might be crucial for the workplace one day,” Hoyme said. “We plan on implementing activities that will not only lead to developing friendships with other women on campus but also help members build confidence, technical skills, teamwork skills and communication skills, which are all vital for success in the workforce.”

When it comes to the opportunities provided for its members, members of the executive board said they have planned multiple resources, events and networking opportunities.

Hoyme said a variety of workshops and mini-lessons will be offered throughout the semester to build coding skills as well as hacking competitions in collaboration with other campus organizations.

“We also plan on having guest speakers to come in and talk about their experiences in the technology field and give advice to members, which will be a really good networking opportunity for our members as well because they get to meet people that work in technology from companies probably locally,” Hoyme said.

Hoyme said Girls Who Code is also going to have resume-building workshops and interview prep to help members get the technology internships that they want.

“We want to inspire and empower young women to pursue their passions in the STEM world by providing a supportive environment where we can help build each other up,” said Katherine Amundson, treasurer of Girls Who Code and a senior in data science. “Our overarching message is you belong here. Your ideas, your learning, whatever it is that you bring with you, it belongs in, so don’t be discouraged.”

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