The IIT Computer Discovery Camp offered an opportunity this past summer for more than 30 middle-school girls from Chicago and surrounding communities to gain hands-on experiences with computing technology. The students worked with LEGO® MINDSTORM® kits to build and program robots and also learned to design and program web pages using HTML. IIT has offered this summer camp to the community since 2010 and has expanded it to include a Saturday afternoon club for summer campers who would like to continue exploring computer technology.
“One of the most important aspects of the summer camp and Saturday program is the social component of bringing girls together who really enjoy working and learning about technology. We have girls who have attended our camp for the last three summers and who also participate in our Saturday program,” says Vida Winans, senior instructor in the Department of Computer Science and organizer of the programs.
The camp was originally funded by a National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Computing grant (BPC grant, Cynthia Hood, associate professor of computer science). The summer camp is currently funded by the Computer Science Department, the College of Science, the Office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives, and generous alumni donations. The Saturday program is currently funded by an additional NSF grant (STARS grant, Cynthia Hood) which provides funds for a large network of universities to empower students to develop and strengthen leadership skills by developing activities to Broaden Participation in Computing and to encourage retention in the computer science discipline.
Above: Photo of camp