Girls, their families and friends, Gather for Computer Science

Pacific introduces seventh and eighth grade girls to the world of computer science, thanks to collaborative effort of University faculty, National Science Foundation and OPB.


Families, friends and area teachers gathered at Pacific University's Multipurpose Room on Friday, July 15 to support and congratulate 30 local seventh and eighth-grade girls, who completed an innovative four-week computer science camp by presenting their "capstone" projects.

Girls Gather for Computer Science (G2CS), a National Science Foundation-funded camp in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting, concluded with campers demonstrating what they learned over 20 days of instruction, field trips and hands-on learning.

As was the case throughout the four-week period, OPB cameras were on hand to capture the scene, which included project demonstrations and the presentation of camp completion certificates.

The camp, a joint effort of the University's Computer Science and Physics departments and the Berglund Center for Internet Studies, introduced the attendees to the world of computer science.

The girls took part in software development, digital media design and biotechnology through classroom instruction and lab exercises, as well as a number of field trips to places like Intel, OMSI and the Hatfield Marine Science Center on the Oregon Coast. Instructors consisted of female computer scientists, engineers, professors and area middle school teachers.

"By offering girls an engaging, challenging, and exciting environment, away from their typical preoccupations, and by utilizing professional female computer scientists as leaders and instructors, G2CS frees young women to explore and see themselves as scientists, engineers and mathematicians," camp director and associate professor Shereen Khoja said.

Demand for computer science abilities, she said, is expected to continue its rapid increase over the next two decades. Employees in the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - are predominantly men, a trend the camp seeks to address by encouraging girls and women to pursue a STEM career because of the expected shortage of STEM-skilled workers in the coming years.

During the camp, the girls built Lego Mindstorm Robots, programmed animations and games using Alice, created simple web pages and took apart and rebuilt old computers. They also recorded their own experiences by using Flip video cameras and writing blog posts each day.

The reception gave the campers' families and friends a glimpse of what the girls worked on over the past four weeks. Demonstrations included animated computer videos and robots, among other things.

Khoja noted that the camp website,, includes free access to the curriculum, interactive exercises and other resources for educators around the world to implement in their own learning environments.

Camp attendees will be tracked over a 10-year period to determine the number of participants who ultimately pursue careers in a STEM field.

This inaugural camp will be succeeded by ones in 2012 and 2013. The camps are limited to 30 attendees, and information on how to register can be found at the camp website.

About the G2CS Initiative

Camp Details

G2CS Partners

News Release (April 2010)

Posted by Joe Lang ( on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Edited by Stephanie Haugen ( on May 1, 2012 at 4:50 PM

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