Hosted by the San Jose Woman’s Club, eBay recently sponsored a Coding Camp for girls in collaboration with a nearby elementary school. The second-through fifth-grade students from Horace Mann Elementary were excited to learn how to create games and animations using Scratch, a simple, fun, and easy-to-use programming language.
“The girls were thrilled,” said Lynda Serrano, PR Director of the San Jose Woman’s Club, describing the ease with which the students engaged with Scratch. “They quickly came to success, even if they had very little technology experience before.”
Organized by eWIT (eBay Women in Technology), the purpose of Coding Camp is to show girls how coding can be fun and to develop confidence while building critical technology skills early in life. eWIT first launched Coding Camp three years ago for the daughters of eBay employees, and have since extended this program to include the greater San Jose community.
“We all know about the numbers of women in technology,” said Abi Kamath, Senior Engineering Program Manager and eWIT Outreach Co-Lead, referencing the disparity in numbers between male and female engineers. “This is about enabling diversity. We want these girls to not just be the users of technology but to also be the creators and design solutions and products.”
Devin Wenig, President & CEO of eBay, dropped by the coding camp to encourage the students to keep pursuing their interests. Other leaders who visited included eBay Chief Product Officer, RJ Pittman, Chief Communications Officer, Dan Tarman, and the Vice Mayor of San Jose, Magdalena Carrasco.
Horace Mann is a Title I school, which means that high percentages of the students come from low-income families. Many of the girls are from communities that have typically been underrepresented in technology and often lack access to tools like computers. For this week’s camp, eBay provided laptops, which were donated afterwards to the Horace Mann school library.
“It’s an opportunity they would not have had were it not for eBay and the San Jose Woman’s Club,” said Farrell Podgorsek, School Librarian at Horace Mann, speaking of the resources eBay provided. “To have the time for the students to develop their creative skills and to have the equipment for it is phenomenal.”