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NFPL hosts “Girls Who Code” 

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff

Needham children’s librarian Veronica McCarthy led the “Girls Who Code” after-school club on Friday, February 17. Girls Who Code is an organization that promotes programming initiatives and aims to close the tech gender gap by hosting games and information on coding and computer science.

McCarthy explained the types of coding programs on the Chromebooks provided for the club. “It’s gotten streamlined. There are Scratch, Python, and Swift creative games. It depends on what they’re interested in. You can come in with any level [of experience].” Girls Who Code encapsulates elements of aerospace, agriculture, and cybersecurity into the curriculum to give participants a vast knowledge of computer science. This specific program is geared toward fifth to eighth graders, but is open to elementary through high schoolers. 

Victoria and Shira, both underclassmen at Gann Academy, volunteered to assist McCarthy in presenting new concepts and challenges as a focus for the week. The two gave a presentation on an introduction to Python, a popular high-level coding language. After fielding questions and conversations surrounding new ideas, the presentation segued into a mad-libs project. The project focused on variables, input, and loops. A typical example is gaming, though this challenge dealt more with language and familiarity with commands and style of code. Codes that run like Python require certain formatting to properly run or break. The adaptability of the program encourages creativity in CS. 

The laid-back environment allowed girls to thrive while exploring the world of tech. Fun initiatives such as a woman in tech spotlight give background and notoriety to pioneers of the field. Now the third meeting of the club, Girls Who Code, meets on a weekly basis at the Needham Free Public Library on Friday afternoons.

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