Girls in CS Summit offered 75 students an intro to tech — and the women who build it - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 26, 2020 10:00 am

Girls in CS Summit offered 75 students an intro to tech — and the women who build it

The event was organized by Code in the Schools JHU Carey Business School's Women in Business and AT&T.
Inside a Girls in CS Summit workshop led by Morgan Stanley’s Angela Reninger.

Inside a Girls in CS Summit workshop led by Morgan Stanley's Angela Reninger.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

In one room, girls got an intro to cybersecurity tool CyberChef from Morgan Stanley Executive Director Angela Reninger. Later, Misha Isran of the City of Baltimore Department of General Services provided a look at energy usage within buildings, while Code in the Schools Executive Director Gretchen LeGrand led a session on e-textiles.

They were among the workshops on the agenda for the 75 students in grades six through 12 who attended the Girls in CS Summit, held Saturday at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business in Harbor East.

Organized by Station North-based computer science education nonprofit Code in the Schools, Carey student organization Women in Business and AT&T, the event looked to introduce the world of computer science to the Baltimore city students.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” LaTara Harris, regional director of external affairs for AT&T, which runs a nationwide program called Aspire to increase access to education and training. “You are all truly the innovators for what is to come.”

Along with drawing students from around Baltimore city, women from the tech community got involved to lead workshops, and speak on a lunchtime panel featuring professional women.

In a field where women remain underrepresented, that means the profile of a role model can also have a tendency to tilt male. Featuring women who are leaders in the field can help make the connection that inspires interest at a young age.

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“I think it’s really important for young women to get exposure to STEM early on,” said Roxanne Zhang, co-president of Women in Business.

Along with the concepts and tools used in computer science that were introduced throughout the day, there was also an emphasis on how tech could make an impact. Isran recently started in a local government role, and said she’s finding lots of flexibility and learning. On Saturday, she was excited about the chance to introduce how coding and data analysis could be used by governments to the next generation, and their potential to make a difference in a local community.

Her message: “Coding and programming is fun. It allows you to do so much.”

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