IFE Innovation Fellow Brandon Kline works with students at the CS@SC Summer Coding Camp.

The coding camps are designed to provide students with an early education in computer science, engineering, and applied physical science, all of which are not typically covered in formal K12 curricula. The camps are not designed to convince students to major in these fields when they reach college but rather to allow them to make an informed decision about different fields that may not receive as much exposure as ones they see on a daily basis. Studies have shown that students who are exposed to computer science and engineering fields at a young age are more likely to excel in academic fields such as science and mathematics.

Although the camps are open to boys and girls, we have a particular interest in encouraging the education of girls in the computing field. The national average for girls receiving Bachelor’s degrees in computing fields is 19%. USC’s Computer Science program has over 30% girls in the undergraduate program. We would like to continue to encourage girls into the field, and research has shown that if girls are exposed to computer science or engineering fields before entering high school (and possibly middle school), they are more likely to pursue more difficult science and mathematics classes. Since these fields do not have any inherent advantages based on gender, there is no reason the field should not support an equal population of girls and boys.

IFE is a proud sponsor of this camp which teaches and enables students to:

YellowB Explain what computer science is and how it relates to real-world problems
YellowB Describe how a computer program is written and executed
YellowB Develop a sequence of steps used to solve a given problem
YellowB Write a computer program to solve a given problem
YellowB Use basic programming constructs such as variables, conditions, and loops
YellowB Identify the need for math and science knowledge in a variety of fields


IFE Innovation Fellow Brandon Kline (above far right and below) works with students at the US@SC Summer Coding Camp.



Here are some great reads for parents (and even kids) to learn more about the importance of an early education in computer science and getting more girls pursuing STEM fields.

  • The Future Starts Now | Huffington Post | Jun 17, 2015 – Kathy Kemper, founder and CEO of the Institute for Education, discusses the camp’s impact in a Huffington Post blog piece. She highlights the importance of learning computer science skills at an early age and praises the camp for providing educational opportunities for children who are financially disadvantaged.
  • 7 Reasons Young Women Shouldn’t Be Deterred From Science and Engineering Careers | Huffington Post | Oct 12, 2015 – Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC, lists a few of the reasons why young women shouldn’t be deterred from careers in science and engineering. He features several female engineers who are working on projects with significant social and technological potential.
  • Coding Like a Girl | Institute for Education | Jun 14, 2015 – The USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science is offering an all-girl coding camp to expose girls to engineering concepts and help them break out of labels and stereotypes that often lead them into humanities fields while their male counterparts pursue engineering.
  • IFE offers free coding camp for girls at USC | Institute for Education | Nov 7, 2015 – University of Southern California, in partnership with the Institute for Education, is proud to offer two free summer camps to K-12th graders. These camps will introduce the kids to computer science and help them to better understand the technology that has become so prevalent in our lives.
  • Women in STEM | White House –  The Office of Science and Technology Policy reports on the Obama Administration’s dedication to increasing a number of women in STEM careers. They provide numerous resources for Women in STEM- from news articles, mentoring opportunities, to videos of important events.
  • The top tech priority of 2015: Two X chromosomes | Tech Republic | Jan 22, 2015 – This TechRepublic article from 2015 reports that the top priority for the year should be to make equal opportunities for women in technology careers. It explains why we need to do something about the fact that women in tech are declining at the same time that women in the professional workforce are increasing.
  • Solving for XX | CNET Magazine  | Regularly updated – CNET, a leading online technology publication, has an on-going series of articles about women in tech, and what people are doing to resolve the disparities between women and men in that industry.
  • Why It’s Crucial to Get More Women Into Science | National Geographic | Nov 8, 2014 – A National Geographic article analyzes the trends of women in STEM fields and the existing bias that affects everything from everyday life to the outcome of research studies.
  • America is failing its children by not teaching code in every high school | Quartz | May 14, 2015 – Quartz Magazine takes a look at why computer science isn’t as prevalent as it should be in secondary education, and what can be done to improve it through early exposure and more funding.
  • Computer science stereotypes are getting worse, not better | Quartz | Mar 9, 2015 – Professor Mary Anne Egan from Siena College examines how Computer Science programs and professionals need to take action to combat negative stereotypes regarding women in CS.
  • Silicon Valley struggles to hack its diversity problem | Washington Post | Jul 16, 2015 – Minorities are significantly underrepresented in the tech industry. Companies have been resistant to acknowledging this fact, refusing to publicize their diversity data, until 2014. More companies are now creating programs and initiatives to combat this problem.

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