Hello, my name is Marie and I am currently a senior at St. Mary's Academy, an all-girls school in downtown Portland. This summer, I had the fantastic opportunity to be a camp counselor for Saturday Academy during the Geek Chic Camp hosted at St. Mary's Academy. Being a student at St. Mary's Academy, I have learned that strong and empowered female role models are essential in maintaining an influx of young girls with desires to receive a higher education and explore their interests. The STEM field in particular is in dire need of these female individuals who will inspire future generations of empowered young women to enter this male-dominated field. Introducing computer science and programming to young girls in environments where they are surrounded by empowered and strong females creates a passionate education space that is unique to St. Mary's Academy and their partnership with Saturday Academy.
Throughout the week of the Geek Chic Camp, elementary and middle school girls learned how to program through game-making, Alice, and robotics while also working together and collaborating on their individual projects. I loved seeing how passionate and motivated the girls were in using their imagination and newfound tools in programming in order to create unique storylines and games that they could show their friends and family after the week was over. In between the multiple classes the girls attended throughout the week, they bonded with each other through team building games and exercises that allowed them to practice their communication and planning skills that are essential when collaborating. I was amazed by how fast the girls bonded with one another within a matter of hours after meeting each other as they discussed their passion for the skills and subjects they were learning. I am confident that the girls were learning and loving their time at the Geek Chic Camp while also being exposed to a safe environment where they can thrive and grow in their interests in STEM. I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to witness such amazing growth within the Geek Chic Camp and cannot wait to see future generations of young women in science!