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Girls Who Code Club

weVENTURE powered by Florida Institute of Technology, has launched Girls Who Code Club, a community-based affiliate of the national non-profit organization Girls Who Code which seeks to inspire and educate girls and equip them with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities.

By 2020, there will be 1.4 million available jobs in computing-related fields, but the United States is on pace fill only 29 percent of them with computer science graduates. At current rates, only 3 percent will be filled by women. Girls Who Code, weVENTURE and several community partners are seeking to change that. The weVENTURE Girls Who Code Club will host two free, five-day summer camps for area high school girls at Melrose Center at the Orange County Public Library in downtown Orlando. The camps will feature fun, innovative training to help young minds learn what it takes to become tech-savvy leaders. Camps will be held June 13-17 and Aug. 8-12.

Leslie Hielema, vice president of the university’s Orlando Center, said programs such as Girls Who Code are one of several key steps toward boosting the number of women in technology. “At an early age, we need to consistently expose students to programming concepts and how it can be applied to real life. Programs like Girls Who Code can meet this need. Secondly, girls need to see strong and relatable role models in the computing field. Girls Who Code instructors are brilliant and inspiring women in tech,” she said. “And as girls are considering a degree, they need mentorship. Students will be matched with an ongoing mentor who will help them explore degree and school options.”

Florida Tech will offer a full four-year scholarship in a computer field to one eligible participant in the Girls Who Code camps. Lead instructor of Orlando’s Girls Who Code Club will be Cassandra Wilcox. She is a JavaScript developer and co-founder of the Orlando startup Code Hangar, Inc. “weVENTURE is thrilled to be a part of the Girls Who Code Club programs, which have already reached upwards of 10,000 girls,” said weVENTURE Orlando Director Shea Glenny. “This program is a key driver towards fulfilling our credo: asking our girls to consider futures as entrepreneurs and technologists. It’s exciting that #girlswhocode become #womenintech, and we’re inspired by Central Florida’s creative and visionary young women.”

Community partners supporting the Girls Who Code initiative include AT&T, Bright House Networks, Canvs, City of Orlando, After-school All-stars, City Year, Collegiate Pathways, Tech Sassy Girlz, The Iron Yard, Junior Achievement, Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Tech Association.

To learn more about weVENTURE’s Girls Who Code Club, and to request an application for one of the summer camps, please visit weventure.org/gwc2016

About weVENTURE

weVENTURE launched in 2007 at Florida Institute of Technology, accelerates growth for entrepreneurs by providing customized coaching, business education, mentorship and networking programs. weVENTURE has three Central Florida locations (Melbourne, Rockledge and Orlando) and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Founding funders of the Orlando location include BDO USA, Bright House Networks and Move2Create.

For more information, or to register for weVENTURE courses and mentorship programs, visit www.weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.

About Florida Institute of Technology

The Florida Institute of Technology was founded at the dawn of the Space Race in 1958, Florida Tech is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast. PayScale.com ranks graduates’ mid-career median salaries in first place among Florida’s universities, and lists Florida Tech among the top 20 universities in the South—both public and private. The university has been named a Barron’s Guide “Best Buy” in College Education, designated a Tier One Best National University in U.S. News & World Report, and is one of just nine schools in Florida lauded by the Fiske Guide to Colleges. In 2016, Times Higher Education ranked Florida Tech one of the top 20 small universities in the world. Florida Tech offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. Fields of study include science, engineering, aeronautics, business, humanities, mathematics, psychology, communication and education. Additional information is available at www.fit.edu.

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