Inspiring Girls In Computer Science – A National Computer Science Education Week Event

  • Saturday, December 10, 2022

In honor of National Computer Science Education Week which is Dec. 5 to 11, Girls Inc.
of Chattanooga hosted a special event to introduce 30+ girls to Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Computer Science (CS) concepts. The girls in
grades first through eighth from various schools in Hamilton County were able to interact
with unique healthcare technology, participate in a CS activity on encryption and hear
from special guests.

Special guests, Audra Block, director of STE(A)M and Computer Science for the
Tennessee Department of Education, and Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp
spoke to the girls about their work and encouraged them to pursue STEM subjects and
careers here locally. The event brought together many innovative leaders in education
to get more girls interested in the high-demand STEM and CS careers and healthcare.

The girls got to experience the medical technology brought and facilitated by three
female nurses and staff from the Erlanger Health System. The girls touched and saw
the capabilities of a full-body trauma patient simulator and used a Telesitter to speak
virtually with staff at the hospital. They were very excited by the innovative equipment
and hearing about the impact the Erlanger women have on those in their community.

Chattanooga-based Thinking Media CEO Sheila Boyington, who is a leader of Million
Women Mentors, spoke to the girls about her experience as an engineer and then
introduced the Learning Blade team did lessons on Information Security Analysts with
an encryption activity highlighting the connection between computer science and
healthcare. These lessons are available free to others by the Infosys Foundation USA –
Pathfinders website.

The girls took sample messages that might be sent between doctors and patients and
encrypted them with a secret code to model the process of secure digital
communication and the importance of keeping your personal information safe. Learning
Blade provided Girls inc. with 3D-printed lock boxes and keys to model the process of
public key encryption and private key decryption. Each girl was able to take home their
own 3D-printed key as a memento of the lesson.

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