NEWS

SPRING 2021

Week 6

Thinking Big

The only limit in life is our imagination—and that's especially true when it comes to coding! If you can dream it, chances are you can make it with a bit of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Often, the trickiest challenge in computer science is deciding what to create and why in the first place—once that's figured out, it's only a matter of time and energy to make it happen! This week, our students practiced the important art of thinking big, brainstorming ideas for their final projects and exploring uncharted territory.

As usual, we've got a few announcements before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting.

Announcements

    1. Bonus Hour

    Join us at this week's Bonus Hour on Thursday, 3/4 from 3:30-4:30p ET, open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve ongoing technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, discuss their journey in computer science, and to chat!

    We'll host the bonus hour on Gather—see the email we sent last Friday, 2/26 for the current password if Gather does not remember you. We'll also be on the backup Zoom in case you encounter trouble joining Gather.

    2. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

    Curious what STEM is all about beyond the classroom? Interested in how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be used to solve problems and make our world a better place? Join us for the 6th annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: Home Edition hosted by MSU's College of Engineering on Saturday, 3/13 from 1:30-3:30p ET! Registration is free to 4th-8th grade students, and has been extended through March 5—more information about the program can be found at the registration link.

    3. Final Project Fair

    Students were hard at work brainstorming ideas for their final projects at this week's meeting, and they'll be writing code to make that idea a reality over the course of the last few SGWC meetings. We'd like to give them the chance to show off their creations, and invite you to join us for a (virtual) final project fair! Save the date for Saturday, March 27th between 10a-12p—we'll be hosting the virtual fair during our usual meeting time, and we encourage parents and siblings to join us. We'll send out more details regarding the format and logistics of the fair as it approaches, but we wanted to get it on everyone's calendar now!

    4. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 3/6 at 10a ET for our seventh SGWC meeting of the spring! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password and meeting schedule on Friday, 3/5.

    Students will work on their final projects through the seventh, eighth and ninth meetings on 3/6, 3/13, and 3/20, respectively, then will show them off to parents and siblings at our Final Project Fair on 3/27. The 3/6, 3/13 and 3/20 meetings will have the same format as previous meetings with an icebreaker, spotlight, review game and programming session, while the 3/27 meeting will be a celebration with games, discussions, and our Final Project Fair.

    5. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

Spring has sprung, and the energy was evident throughout Saturday's meeting, beginning with our icebreaker. Show and tell never fails to spur conversation and connection between mentors and students, yet this Saturday was especially lively. We bonded over our favorite shows, movies, books, music and hobbies, reminding us that physical distance and social connection are not mutually exclusive! We're not alone—we have a lot more in common with one another than we realize, whether we're six feet or six miles apart.

This week's spotlight focused on the importance of teamwork in computer science, and emphasized why diverse teams are the best teams—the more perspectives we have at the table in technology, the better! Individuals with different backgrounds bring different experiences and skills to a team, helping their team face the wide range of unpredictable challenges that arise when developing new technology. Computer science has historically been a relatively homogeneous, white-male-dominated field, but that needs to change if we hope to solve the toughest problems of tomorrow. Hear what Russell Wilson, Aloe Blacc, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Chris Paul and others have to say about the many opportunities computer science brings, and the importance of "changing the face of computer science" in the video produced by Code.org.

Ask your student what they thought of the video! Why do they think diversity and teamwork are important in computer science?


Steph Curry: "The opportunity is endless for someone who's getting into computer science, because that's a job that's in high demand right now."

Following our spotlight, students began brainstorming ideas for their final projects, in which they'll apply the expertise they've developed over the course of SGWC to make a drawing or animation using JavaScript. Students have recreated and replicated drawings and animations through Khan Academy assignments—but now, we're encouraging them to blaze their own trail to make an original creation. We're excited to see what they come up with!

To inspire our final project brainstorming session, a number of mentors made example final projects and shared them with the group. Shoutout to Jonathon, Tatiana, Sarah and Jennifer for the awesome creations!


Example final projects created by SGWC mentors. From left to right: A shooting star by Jonathon, an animated puppy by Tatiana, a waving snowman by Sarah, and a colorful aquarium by Jennifer! Click the title of each project to see the code behind it.

Following our brainstorming session, students continued to work through the "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course on Khan Academy. Because students are working through the curriculum at their own pace, everyone is at a slightly different spot—but many worked on taking their animations to the next level by making them interactive! Check out a few of our students' creations below to be amazed.


From left to right: students worked on the "Mouse Movement Mania," "Tasty Tomato" and "Animal Attack" Khan Academy challenges at this week's meeting. Click the title of each challenge to see the animated/interactive drawing!

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Students shared their successes and challenges from the day in small-group standup discussions to close out our meeting, and reminded us why learning to code is so important—it is empowering! There's a certain sense of confidence that one builds by writing and debugging code, and it's inspiring to hear our students are finding that confidence as they progress through SGWC. Keep up the awesome work, everyone!

Feedback on Gather, Khan Academy, and the other aspects of this session were quite positive—but don't hesitate to send us a note at info@spartangwc.org if you have ideas of how we can continue to improve.

Mentor Spotlight



Trinity Johnson



Jonathon Moore

What are you studying?
I am a freshman studying Computer Engineering along with a minor in Japanese!

How did you become interested in computer science?
Growing up I liked to question why technology based products (phones, computers, cameras, etc.) worked. Eventually, I had what felt like a million questions and no answers. In order to gain some understanding I decided to dedicate my time to studying technology in order to get some long awaited answers.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I created a program that read through data gathered about Covid patients in the US, and then printed a month by month visual representation of the deaths and expected deaths caused by the virus.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I’ve been trying to learn Japanese, and a barrier that I’ve constantly faced is not always having access to a speaking partner (due to a large time difference). This has inspired me to want to create an artificially intelligent language partner.

What are you studying?
I'm a junior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Game Design!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I always knew I wanted to do work involving computers but I didn't know if I wanted to work in hardware or software. This changed my freshman year where I became hooked on computer science.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've used computer science to code various video games I've made for my classes!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I'm hoping to use computer science in the future to code more games that others will enjoy, just like the games I used to play as a child!

Let the sunshine in, Spartan Girls Who Code! We'll see you Saturday!

-The SGWC Team

Week 5

Springing to Life

The warm weather, blue skies and sunshine have us springing to life this week, just like our code! Students learned to animate their JavaScript drawings at Saturday's meeting, bringing their once-static creations out of hibernation and into motion. Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil was wrong this year—it's feeling like winter is on its way out!

Before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting, we've got a few announcements.

Announcements

    1. Bonus Hour

    Join us at this week's Bonus Hour on Thursday, 2/25 from 3:30-4:30p ET, open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve ongoing technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, discuss their journey in computer science, and to chat!

    We'll host the bonus hour on Gather—see the email we sent last Friday, 2/19 for the current password if Gather does not remember you. We'll also be on the backup Zoom in case you encounter trouble joining Gather.

    2. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

    Curious what STEM is all about beyond the classroom? Interested in how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be used to solve problems and make our world a better place? Join us for the 6th annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: Home Edition hosted by MSU's College of Engineering on Saturday, 3/13 from 1:30-3:30p ET! Registration is free and open to 4th-8th grade students through March 1—more information about the program can be found at the registration link!

    3. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 2/27 at 10a ET for our sixth SGWC meeting of the spring! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password and meeting schedule on Friday, 2/26.

    4. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

Bingo may be nearly 500 years old, but that didn't stop us from having a blast playing it at this week's icebreaker! Call us old-fashioned—but it's hard to beat a classic. Checking off tiles like "has a pet," "plays video games," and "likes to listen to music" as they were called, students connected with each other and with mentors by discussing their favorite books, movies, sports, hobbies, music and games. It turns out our SGWC family has a lot in common! Spin up your own game of icebreaker bingo using our cards at this link.

Conveniently, one of our icebreaker bingo tiles—"likes Disney"—tied perfectly into this week's spotlight! Focused on women in tech at Disney, the spotlight video reminded us how technology and creativity go hand-in-hand in the 21st century. To be an effective technologist, it's important to think creatively, and to be an effective creator, it's important to use the tools offered by modern technology. In fact, Disney doesn't even hire "engineers"—they hire "Imagineers!" After all, Disney's greatest challenges don't have a single correct answer like the problems from a textbook—they require outside-the-box thinking and a bit of imagination.

Hear what Disney's women technologists have to say about their work at Disney here, and ask your student what they thought about the video!


Charita, an Imagineer combining creativity with technology at Disney.

Back by popular demand, we followed this week's spotlight with a friendly game of Kahoot reviewing the JavaScript content from Khan Academy we've covered thus far. The Kahoot is available here if your student is looking for a fun way to check their understanding!

For the second half of the meeting, students jumped back into the Khan Academy "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course, learning how to take their drawings to the next level with animation. Making use of variables introduced at last week's meeting, students brought their drawings to life by dynamically changing the positions and sizes of objects with code. Did someone say Pixar is hiring?


From left to right: students worked on the "Making Animations," "Parting Clouds" and "Shooting Star" Khan Academy challenges at this week's meeting, learning to bring their creations to life through animation. Click the title of each challenge to see the animated drawing!

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This week's standup discussions were quite animated (pun intended), with students expressing their excitement around JavaScript content we've covered. It's worth taking a moment to acknowledge how far everyone has come in a matter of only five weeks—well done, Spartan Girls Who Code!

As usual, feedback on Gather, Khan Academy, and this week's icebreaker and spotlight were quite positive. That said, we know growth is a never-ending process—send us a note at info@spartangwc.org to let us know how we can continue to improve!

Mentor Spotlight



Hadeel Rass



Henry Xu

What are you studying?
I'm a junior double-majoring in Environmental Engineering and Urban & Regional Planning!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science when I took a computer science class my freshman year of college.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
Something cool I have done with code is make games to play against the computer—my favorite is a game of checkers!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I am hoping to use computer science as a supplemental part of my career in the future.

What are you studying?
I'm a sophomore studying Computer Science!

How did you become interested in computer science?
My mom is a software developer, so I was always interested in what she did growing up. I took a computer science class in high school and loved it from there!

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've done lots of cool things with computer science, but one thing that stands out is using computer science to analyze statistics—it's much easier to analyze large sets of data and come up with new models.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I'm not fully sure what I want to do with computer science in the future (that's the purpose of college!), but whatever I end up doing, I want to make a positive impact on the world and make it a better place through my work!

Enjoy the warm weather, blue skies and sunshine, Spartan Girls Who Code! We'll see you Saturday!

-The SGWC Team

Week 4

Change is constant

In life and in code, adaptability is key! The world is constantly changing, and we must change along with it—the past year has been a prime example. While it can be difficult to change ourselves, it's far easier to change our code—thanks to the power of variables, we can change an entire program by changing a single number.

Before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting, we've got a few announcements.

Announcements

    1. Bonus Hour

    Join us at this week's Bonus Hour on Thursday, 2/18 from 3:30-4:30p ET, open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve ongoing technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, discuss their journey in computer science, and to chat!

    We'll host the bonus hour on Gather—see the email we sent last Friday, 2/12 for the current password if Gather does not remember you. We'll also be on the backup Zoom in case you encounter trouble joining Gather.

    2. GWC Summer Immersion Program

    Looking to continue growing your coding skills this summer? Apply to participate in the national Girls Who Code organization's two-week Summer Immersion Program (SIP) to build experience in HTML, CSS and JavaScript while making friends and hearing from female leaders in the tech industry. Girls and non-binary students currently in grades 9-11 are eligible to apply.

    For more information, check out the SIP homepage and SIP flyer. You can find the SIP application here! Although the early application deadline was February 17th, general applications remain open through March 19th. Be sure to list CSTA Michigan as your Community Partner to receive proper consideration!

    3. Your Voice Is Power

    Pharrell Williams, Georgia Tech and Amazon are hosting a coding competition at the intersection of tech, music and racial equity this spring on the EarSketch platform, where students can make beats with code! A series of lessons introducing the platform, teaching programming skills and exploring the landscape of social (in)equity in 2021 are available on the Your Voice Is Power site, along with the details of the competition. The first round of competition is open and ends on March 12th—the second round of competition opens on March 12th and closes on June 4th.

    4. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 2/20 at 10a ET for our fifth SGWC meeting of the spring! Can you believe we're almost to the halfway point of the program? We can't! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password and meeting schedule on Friday, 2/19.

    5. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

When's the last time you participated in show-and-tell? For our students, it was Saturday! We kicked off our meeting with a virtual spin on the long-time classic, and had an absolute blast. Indeed, show-and-tell was the perfect way to jumpstart Saturday's session—students shared mementos, trophies and photos, explaining the story behind them and building connections with one another across a wide range of topics. It was nice to see those who were comfortable turning on their camera when sharing!

Following the icebreaker, we learned how girls can change the world with code in this week's spotlight video, featuring Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. From software and web development to e-commerce, finance, business, gaming, fashion, science, security, and beyond, the video reinforced why learning to code is so important in 2021: code is everywhere! Students shared where they hope to take their coding skills in the future, spurring a wonderful discussion and building community on the basis of shared interests.

Check out the spotlight video at this link, and ask your student what they thought!


From left to right: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai.

Before jumping into new content on Khan Academy, we reviewed the core concepts of programming and JavaScript that we've covered so far with a friendly game of Kahoot. If your student wants to test their memory or challenge a friend to a game of coding trivia, they can access the Kahoot at this link!

In this week's module of the Khan Academy "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course, students worked with variables to make their creations more adaptive: variables allow students to change their entire drawing by changing a single number in their code. A few of our students' creations from this week are shown below.


From left to right: students worked on the "Bucktooth Bunny," "Funky Frog," and "Exploding Sun" Khan Academy challenges at this week's meeting.

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We wrapped up Saturday's meeting with a discussion of past accomplishments, present progress, and future goals in small groups, followed by the weekly feedback survey. Gather, Zoom and Khan Academy seem to be working well—in spite of the many lemons of the past year, it's safe to say SGWC has made lemonade. Our arrangement may not be perfect, but we're happy to see students are happy!

That said, if your student is not happy—if the lemonade is too sour—please reach out to info@spartangwc.org to let us know how we can improve!

Mentor Spotlight



Tatiana Voegerl



Jose Hernandez

What are you studying?
I'm a freshman studying Computer Science Engineering and Information Science with a minor in Spanish!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in Computer Science my sophomore year of high school, which is when I took my first coding class. I really enjoyed the combination of logic and creativity that's important when writing code.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I wrote a program that can take any DNA strand and return its corresponding protein sequence, which was really fun since I love learning about genetics. I have also designed some websites!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I hope to go into full-stack software development in order to combine design and coding!

What are you studying?
I'm a second-year graduate student pursuing a Dual Ph.D. in Computer Science and Ecology, Evolution & Behavior.

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science in middle school when I saw all the things you could do with it. At the time I thought about creating video games, but now I focus on artificial intelligence (AI)!

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've created an evolving AI model that plays the board game Mancala. It was able to beat me sometimes!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
In the future I hope to use computer science to create AIs that can solve complicated problems. I also hope to continue to do outreach with it, as computer science opens a lot of doors.

Stay warm, Spartan Girls Who Code—spring isn't far off!

-The SGWC Team

Week 3

A splash of color

A small splash of color can make a big difference. By learning to color with code in this week's lesson, students moved beyond the basics of black and white into a world of vibrant reds, lively greens, bright blues and other hues!

Before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting, we've got a few announcements.

Announcements

    1. Bonus Hour

    As usual, this week's Bonus Hour will take place Thursday, 2/11 from 3:30-4:30p ET and is open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve ongoing technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, discuss their journey in computer science, and to chat!

    We'll host the bonus hour on Gather—see the email we sent last Friday, 2/5 for the current password if Gather does not remember you. We'll also be on the backup Zoom in case you encounter trouble joining Gather.

    2. GWC Summer Immersion Program

    Looking to continue growing your coding skills this summer? Apply to participate in the national Girls Who Code organization's two-week Summer Immersion Program (SIP) to build experience in HTML, CSS and JavaScript while making friends and hearing from female leaders in the tech industry. Girls and non-binary students currently in grades 9-11 are eligible to apply.

    For more information, check out the SIP homepage and SIP flyer. You can find the SIP application here! The early application deadline is February 17th. Be sure to list CSTA Michigan as your Community Partner to receive proper consideration!

    3. Your Voice Is Power

    Pharrell Williams, Georgia Tech and Amazon are hosting a coding competition at the intersection of tech, music and racial equity this spring on the EarSketch platform, where students can make beats with code! A series of lessons introducing the platform, teaching programming skills and exploring the landscape of social (in)equity in 2021 are available on the Your Voice Is Power site, along with the details of the competition. The first round of competition is open and ends on March 12th—the second round of competition opens on March 12th and closes on June 4th.

    4. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 2/13 at 10a ET for our fourth SGWC meeting of the spring! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password and meeting schedule on Friday, 2/12.

    5. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

We kicked off Saturday's meeting with a fan-favorite icebreaker: meme slides! Each student described their week with a series of memes, gifs and other images, and the results were hilarious, as always. As you might imagine, we're all a bit fed up with the polar vortex and the pandemic—but that hasn't put a damper on our sense of humor!


A polar vortex amidst a pandemic, oh my!

This week's spotlight featured Kim Swennen, an actress-turned-coder who made a mid-career pivot to tech and now works on the YouTube "Subscribe" button! Kim's story highlights the fact that anyone can learn to code at any time, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, background, age, or circumstance. Whether or not students pursue computer science as a career or go a different route, we hope they remember Kim's courage to redefine herself and do what makes them happy.

You can find the video by searching for "Kim Swennen" at this link.


Kim Swennen, Senior Software Engineer at YouTube.

Next, students proceeded to work through the Khan Academy "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course in small groups, learning to color with code in this week's lesson. Gone are the days of greyscale! Check out a few of our students' creations from this week below.


Student submissions to the What's for Dinner? project on Khan Academy

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As usual, we concluded with our weekly standup, reflecting on the day's lesson and looking forward to the journey ahead. Responses to our weekly feedback survey regarding Gather, Khan Academy, and the general structure of SGWC were quite positive—but don't hesitate to reach out to info@spartangwc.org if you have any questions or concerns!

Mentor Spotlight



Elizabeth DeBack



Caroline Baidoon

What are you studying?
I'm a junior studying Computer Science Engineering and minoring in Economics!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science through a class I took on CodeHS in high school! In college I decided on CS when I realized I enjoyed creating projects more than studying only for exams.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I created a Pokémon battle game!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I am hoping to use CS for cybersecurity. There are so many possibilities though, and I am excited to continue to explore them!

What are you studying?
I'm a senior majoring in Computer Science Engineering and Japanese, and minoring in Spanish!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science because of my interest in foreign languages and problem solving. Computer science is filled with so many different programming languages! Just like Spanish or French, for example, programming languages are constructed in different ways, but can serve similar purposes, and I think that’s pretty cool.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I have worked on programming projects with people all around the world, and have written code for mobile applications.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
This is a good question. It is hard to pick one specific thing I hope to do, because I have a wide range of interests! I do, however, think it would be fun to work on applications or devices that can be used to improve interpretation/translation in hospitals and/or for personal foreign language study.

Make it a great week, Spartan Girls Who Code. We'll see you Saturday!

-The SGWC Team

Week 2

Creativity and Code

It's true that code is technical and logical—but as our students learned firsthand this week, code is creative, too!

Before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting, we'd like to share a few announcements.

Announcements

    1. Bonus Hour

    This week's Bonus Hour will take place Thursday, 2/4 from 3:30-4:30p ET and is open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, and to talk about computer science in general!

    We'll host the bonus hour on Gather—see the email we sent last Friday, 1/29 for the current password if Gather does not remember you. We'll also be on the backup Zoom in case you encounter trouble joining Gather.

    2. Consent Forms

    If you have not yet submitted a Spring 2021 SGWC Consent Form for each of your students registered for SGWC, please do so as soon as possible. This is required by MSU Youth Program Policy, and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

    3. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 2/6 at 10a ET for our third SGWC meeting of the spring! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password on Friday, 2/5.

    4. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

To begin, we re-introduced the key functionalities of Gather and reviewed the layout of our virtual office space for the spring. Without wasting any time, we then jumped into our icebreaker for the week: lightning conversations! Students scattered throughout the rows of desks in our space in groups of 3-4, and mentors joined each group for a quick round of "would you rather"-style questions. Each row of desks in our Gather office is a "private space," which allowed mentors and students to connect in small groups without having to worry about the 70+ other meeting participants! After a few minutes of conversation, students and mentors shuffled to meet a new group.

We then jumped into Zoom calls to watch this week's spotlight, featuring Jordyn Castor. An MSU alumna and current software engineer at Apple, Jordyn has been blind since birth and works to make technology more accessible! Inspired by Jordyn, students reflected on the actions they can take to make the world around them more inclusive. Check out the video by searching for "accessible" at this link, and ask your student what they thought!


Jordyn Castor, MSU alumna and Accessibility QA Engineer at Apple.

Following our icebreaker and spotlight, students were off to the races on Khan Academy, working through the "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course in small groups. Using code to draw a smiley face and a snowman, students learned how code can indeed be creative. Just as learning to sing, dance, paint or sculpt opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities, learning to code does the same!


A snowman drawn with JavaScript code!

We ended things with small mentor-student group discussions, reflecting on what went well, what was challenging, and what students are looking forward to at next Saturday's session. Responses to our weekly feedback survey were again quite positive, but don't hesitate to reach out to info@spartangwc.org if you have any questions or concerns!

Mentor Spotlight



Sophie Martin



Anna Clark

What are you studying?
I'm a junior studying Computer Science Engineering and minoring in Graphic Design!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science during a web development class in high school, and from there on out I just loved coding! I loved connecting coding with the design aspects of web development and creating cool looking websites.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
Something cool that I have done with computer science is program a Tower Balloon defense game where animated balloons follow a road, and you move the towers to pop as many balloons as you can! It was the first big project in college where at the end, I felt very accomplished looking at the final product, and I very much enjoyed making it.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I have a lot of interests in computer science that I enjoy, so I can't really pick! I'm into application development, website development, data science... so I don't know what I want to do quite yet. I am also interested in continuing my education past undergrad and possibly going to grad school!

What are you studying?
I'm a freshman majoring in Computer Science Engineering and minoring in Math!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in Computer Science through my high school robotics team. I really enjoyed programming the robot to make it achieve different tasks and move autonomously.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I have built a couple of iPhone apps and made a few card games.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
In the future I am hoping to do something with cybersecurity or artificial intelligence. Whatever I end up doing, I hope to make a positive impact on the world!

Here's to another great week—stay warm in the midst of our polar vortex!

-The SGWC Team

Week 1

A New Beginning

Student energy and mentor enthusiasm made for an unforgettable kickoff on Saturday—we hope your student is as excited as we are for the weeks ahead!

Before we dive into a full recap of Saturday's meeting, we'd like to share a few announcements.

Announcements

    1. Consent Forms

    We're still missing ~20 or so consent forms. If you have not yet submitted a Spring 2021 SGWC Consent Form for each of your students registered for SGWC, please do so as soon as possible. This is required by MSU Youth Program Policy, and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

    2. Remind

    If you haven't already, subscribe to our Remind service to receive instant updates about the Spring 2021 session! Text @s21sgwc to 81010 or follow this link to subscribe. We'll continue to send weekly updates via email, but we know how full inboxes can become!

    3. Participant Pre-Survey

    Students were encouraged to fill out the 2021 SGWC Participant Pre-Survey at Saturday's meeting, but not everyone submitted their responses. If your student has not yet completed the pre-survey, please have them do so before this Saturday's meeting.

    4. Bonus Hour

    Back from Technovation by popular demand, we'll be hosting a SGWC "bonus hour" every Thursday from 3:30-4:30p ET (beginning this Thursday, 1/28) open to all SGWC participants. Two SGWC mentors will be available on Gather during the bonus hour to resolve technical difficulties, dive deeper into the coding concepts we've learned, or to talk about computer science in general!

    Use the Gather link below to join us for a bonus hour of fun each week. The password for our bonus hour will always be the same as the password from the previous Saturday's meeting (sent via email only). If you're having trouble joining Gather, our mentors will also be on our "backup" Zoom link.

    5. Looking Ahead

    We'll see you again this Saturday, 1/30 at 10a ET for our second SGWC meeting of the spring! Keep an eye on your inbox for an updated Gather password on Friday.

    6. Questions?

    As always, please reach out with any questions / concerns / ideas / feedback to info@spartangwc.org.

Meeting Recap

Mentors welcomed participants within the lobby of our very own virtual SGWC office, just as we used to do in the lobby of the Engineering Building on MSU's campus! As much as we miss seeing everyone in person, the organic, small group exchanges like these helped make Saturday's meeting feel a little more normal. Our decorations may be 8-bit, but our Gather space felt like a real computer lab!

To become familiar with the functionalities of Gather and the layout of our virtual space, participants worked through a scavenger hunt. Each station on the scavenger hunt was staffed by a handful of mentors, giving mentors and participants the chance to meet one another. Because Gather connects video and audio to others nearby in the virtual space, participants were able to group up and make new friends along the way. Ask your student to give you a tour of our virtual home for the spring!



Our SGWC home for 2021 on Gather.Town!

Following the scavenger hunt, participants completed a program pre-survey which will help us evaluate and improve SGWC in future years. We've learned a lot from pre- and post-surveys in past years—we truly appreciate our participants' thoughtful feedback! If your student did not complete the pre-survey, please encourage them to do so at this link.

Next, participants and mentors broke out into three cohorts—Junior 1, Junior 2 and Senior—to discuss the journey ahead of us in SGWC and the logistics involved. Each cohort collaborated to write a club contract setting goals and expectations for future meetings, and set up Khan Academy accounts for use in the coming weeks. We'll be working through the "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course offered by Khan Academy beginning this Saturday!


The cohort club contracts are looking good!

Finally, we encouraged participants to fill out an end-of-meeting survey to gauge comfort with Gather, and received overwhelmingly positive responses! It's always scary to try something new, so we were glad to hear students enjoyed the new platform. That said, we want to make sure everyone has a great time at SGWC this spring—so if you're having issues with Gather, please send us an email at info@spartangwc.org.

Mentor Spotlight

This spring, we'll be including a new section in our weekly newsletter: the Mentor Spotlight! SGWC is led, organized, and run by MSU students with the help of Dr. Laura Dillon and Teresa Isela Vandersloot, and we thought it would be fun to introduce a few of our team members each week.

To kick off our mentor spotlight series, we'd like to introduce the Spring 2021 Lead Mentors!



Hannah Striebel



Sarah Swann



Gigi Padalec



Andrew McDonald

What are you studying?
I'm a senior majoring in Computer Science Engineering and minoring in German and Computational Math, Science, and Engineering!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science in high school when my brother showed me the flame fractals he made in his AP Computer Science class.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've done a lot of cool things with computer science, from making games like tic-tac-toe and rock-paper-scissors, to designing an app that detects texting and driving.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
The great thing about Computer Science is that it's used in pretty much any field you could think of - I'm excited to solve interesting problems with CS wherever I end up.

What are you studying?
I'm a junior majoring in Computer Science Engineering and minoring in math!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in computer science my senior year of high school when I took an AP Computer Science class and found it connected all my different interests such as art, robotics, and web design.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've built a tower defense game, and a connect four game!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
In the future I'm hoping to do something working with animation or robotics. I'm not sure where I'll end up yet, but I'm definitely excited for what's ahead!

What are you studying?
I'm a junior studying Computer Science Engineering with a minor in math!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I became interested in CS through a outreach program similar to GWC, hosted by Google with Dr. Dillon (woot woot!) and another professor at MSU.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I built a mock website with Target employees for a coding competition.

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
Whatever I end up doing with computer science, I hope to make a positive impact on others.

What are you studying?
I'm a junior studying Computer Science Engineering, Advanced Mathematics and Statistics!

How did you become interested in computer science?
I grew up hoping to pursue a career in STEM, but figured I'd pursue mechanical or electrical engineering until high school. FIRST robotics and AP Computer Science led me to develop an interest in code.

What's something cool you've done with computer science?
I've designed algorithms to coordinate multi-robot teams as an undergraduate researcher here at MSU!

What are you hoping to do with computer science in the future?
I plan to pursue a PhD in machine learning & artificial intelligence, and ultimately hope to become a professor.

Thanks for making last Saturday a blast, everyone. We can't wait to see you this Saturday!

-The SGWC Team

Week 1 Meeting Information

We're thrilled to see you all tomorrow, Saturday, January 23rd at 10a ET, for our first SGWC meeting of the spring!

    1. Meeting Information

    Join us on Gather anytime after 9:45a ET on Saturday at the following link:

    Gather is built around the idea of virtual proximity, described further at this link. If you happen to "get lost" or "stuck," or need to reach a mentor, try resetting your position by following the steps in the image below. A mentor will always be stationed at the reset point and will be able to help.

    2. Technical Support

    We'll be running a "backup" Zoom meeting every Saturday morning for technical support. If you're unable to log into Gather or encounter any other technical difficulties, please join our "backup" Zoom with the following link:

    3. Questions?

    You can reach us anytime with questions or concerns at info@spartangwc.org.

    We prefer you join the "backup" Zoom meeting linked above if your issue arises on Saturday morning, but we'll be checking email and will do our best to respond promptly!

-The SGWC Team

Welcome to SGWC!

Believe it or not, we're only one week away from the start of SGWC!

To make sure we're all on the same (virtual) page prior to our first meeting on Saturday, January 23rd at 10a ET, we've got a number of updates to share with you.

If you have any questions or encounter technical difficulties, you can reach us at info@spartangwc.org. We'll respond promptly!

    1. Meeting Link & Password

    To maintain privacy and security, we will be sending out a new link and password every Friday for the following Saturday's SGWC meeting. Keep an eye on your inbox and subscribe to our Remind service (see below) for the meeting information each week! The link and password for our first meeting on Saturday, 1/23 will be sent out on Friday, 1/22.

    2. Consent Forms

    If you have not yet submitted the Spring 2021 SGWC Consent Form, please do so as soon as possible. This is required by MSU Youth Program Policy—the form should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

    3. Remind

    Subscribe to our Remind service to receive instant updates about the Spring 2021 session (including meeting links & passwords). Text @s21sgwc to 81010 or follow this link to subscribe. We'll continue to send weekly updates via email, but we know how full inboxes can become!

    4. Gather.Town

    Let's face it: we're all tired of Zoom these days. So, we'll be using a new platform for the Spring 2021 session of SGWC: Gather. We think it will make for a great online learning experience! You can find more information in Gather's documentation, but we provide a brief summary below.

    Gather is built around the idea of virtual proximity: you can move into and out of conversations in a virtual space by moving an avatar of yourself. When your avatar is near another person's avatar, their video and audio will connect with yours and you'll be able to chat with them. When your avatars move apart, your video and audio will disconnect. This makes it easy for multiple groups of people to hold separate conversations at the same time without the hassle of breakout rooms. In a sense, it recreates in-person interactions!

    We'll be giving a full tutorial and demo of Gather at our first meeting, so don't stress about it! We think you'll like it much better than Zoom.

    5. Attendance

    With 18 MSU student-mentors and over 75 participants registered for the Spring 2021 session of SGWC, we're on track for a record-breaking year! Help us keep it that way by striving to attend at least 8 of our 10 meetings between 1/23 and 3/27. The more meetings you attend, the more fun you'll have!

    We had to close registration in early January and turn a number of participants away in order to keep our participant-to-mentor ratio from growing too large, so remember that your spot is valuable!

    6. Participant Handbook

    MSU Youth Program Policy requires us to distribute a document detailing proper conduct of MSU student-mentors, faculty, staff and participants. We don't expect to run into any issues this spring, but encourage you to review our 2021 SGWC Participant Handbook to make sure you do your part in making our program a success.

    7. What to Expect

    To keep group sizes manageable, we'll be breaking up into cohorts of approximately 25 participants and 6 MSU student-mentors. We'll then work in groups of 2-4 participants within our cohorts throughout the meeting to facilitate collaboration. Cohort assignments will be given at the start of our first meeting on 1/23.

    Over the course of SGWC, we'll be working through Khan Academy's "Intro to JavaScript: Drawing and Animation" course, learning the basics of computer science by programming visualizations. That's right: we'll be teaching computers how to draw! This curriculum is different from past years of SGWC, so new and returning participants alike will be starting fresh.

    Meetings typically begin with a 15-minute icebreaker, followed by a 15-minute spotlight in which we showcase a different way computer science is used in the real world each week. We'll then cover a set of slides introducing a new programming concept each week for 15 minutes or so before breaking into small groups and working through coding exercises together for about an hour. In the final 15 minutes, we'll reconvene for a reflection session and post-meeting survey!

    8. Schedule

    Meetings will be held every Saturday from 10a-12p ET beginning January 23rd, 2021 and ending March 27th, 2021. If your student is no longer planning to participate in the Spring 2021 session of SGWC, please send us an email at info@spartangwc.org and we will remove you from our mailing list.

That's all for now—we'll see you soon! In the meantime, stay healthy and safe. Brighter days are ahead!

-The SGWC Team

Submit your parental consent form

Happy new year!

We hope you've had a wonderful start to 2021. Can you believe we're less than 2 weeks away from the start of Spring 2021 SGWC?

In order to participate in SGWC, we need you to submit the following Google Form as soon as possible! (Ideally, no later than Friday, January 15th).

SGWC Parental Consent Form

  • MSU Youth Program Policy requires that we have written parental consent for each participant's involvement in SGWC. More detailed instructions are provided in the Google Form, which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.
  • Note that the Google Form will require you to log in with a Google account in order to upload your signed consent forms. If you do not have a Google account, please email your signed forms to info@spartangwc.org

We'll be sending a welcome message with more detail around what to expect for our first meeting on Saturday, January 23rd from 10a-12p ET sometime during the week of January 18th, so keep an eye on your inbox!

If your student is no longer planning to participate in the Spring 2021 session of SGWC, please send us an email at info@spartangwc.org and we will remove you from our mailing list. We'll be sad to see you go, but understand that things come up!

-The SGWC Team

SGWC Goes Virtual

We're excited to announce that Spartan Girls Who Code will be offered virtually this coming spring! *

In alignment with the guidance of Michigan public health officials, SGWC will be offered Saturday mornings from 10a-12p via Zoom in a fully-remote format, beginning 1/23 and ending 3/27.

Join us as we embark on a 10-week adventure, and prepare to have a blast!

Founded in 2018, Spartan Girls Who Code is an MSU student-led coding club introducing 6-12th grade students to the wide world of computer science. Combining lessons in web development using HTML and CSS with guest speakers and social activities, SGWC is more than just another extracurricular—it's a community. We believe coding should be fun, and we aim to make it so!

Program Details

  • Free
  • Fully virtual
  • 10 weeks, beginning 1/23 and ending 3/27
  • Sessions held synchronously via Zoom from 10a-12p each Saturday
  • Sign up below—registration will close Friday, 12/18
  • Space is limited—acceptance notifications will be sent in early January 2021
  • Questions? Reach out to us at info@spartangwc.org

If you don't know how to code, we'll teach you. If you do know how to code, we'll teach you to code better.

SGWC is a program for everyone—anybody can learn to code!


Registration Form


We'll see you soon. In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, and stay positive. Be like Sparty—wear a mask!

–The SGWC Team

Prior Clubs

Check out what students accomplished in prior offerings of SGWC.

Spring 2020 SGWC

Spring 2019 SGWC

Spring 2018 SGWC

* In achieving its goals, Spartan Girls Who Code does not unlawfully discriminate. All events and programs are open to students of all genders.