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HJH's Girls Who Code Club Inspires Girls To Be Brave

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“Girl Power” is taking on a whole new meaning as local junior high school girls are working together to close the gender gap in the male-dominated science and technology career fields.

The Girls Who Code club at Houma Junior High School has kicked into full gear thanks to teacher Melissa Williamson. Williamson acquired the technology and supplies needed for her club from an Innovative Ed-Venture Grant administered by the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE) and sponsored by Chevron. Girls Who Code is a national organization focused on helping girls learn the skills necessary to break into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers.

“My hope is that the girls all enable each other to work hard and tackle difficult academic environments in a team atmosphere,” Williamson said. “When they support each other, difficult tasks become less difficult. I want them to be brave, not perfect.”

“Brave, not perfect” is a common theme of the lessons in which the girls work together to learn how to code, a term used in the technology field that means to develop apps, websites and software. The lessons encourage them to be brave enough to try, ask questions and work through problems to get a solution – skills that will serve them well in their future professions.

“Young girls are greatly influenced by the environment and encouragement around them,” said Chevron Public Affairs Manager Leah Brown. “By introducing them to STEM education early on and investing time in their education through mentorship, we can make a positive impact on their futures. Chevron is proud to support this program in Terrebonne Parish.”

The club meets on a weekly basis to learn the fundamentals of coding and programming language. In the future, Williamson hopes the girls could serve as their schools’ “tech experts” and help with technical issues at the schools to get real-world practice.
In June, TFAE hosted the Girls Who Code Summer Session presented by Chevron, a one-week technology camp for girls.

Girls Who Code is a national organization whose goal is to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.
 
Campers learned many technology and life skills including how to code, build a closed circuit, work together, and - most importantly - how to be "brave not perfect."

Learn more about the girls' experience here.

Special thanks to our sponsors and donors who made this camp possible: Chevron, T. Baker Smith, Danos, Fletcher Technical Community College, Chick Fil A, Fig Cafe, David Ohlmeyer Allstate Insurance, Root2Rise, and Terrebonne Parish School District. 

Thank you to these businesses for their continued support of Girls Who Code!

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