In an effort to steer more women into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professions, Penn State Altoona is launching a program to provide unique opportunities to female middle-school and high-school students. In particular, students will learn how to write code through various means, from robotics to 3D virtual environments. Through a comprehensive, year-long process, students will be systematically exposed to the various aspects and forms of software development and learn how coding is quickly becoming an essential skill for professionals working in many STEM fields.
Jungwoo Ryoo, professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Altoona, is the principal investigator of this project. “Early intervention in STEM education is critical, and many female students never receive an opportunity to learn about what it is like to be in a software development profession or to explore coding,” he states.
Considering the important role coding plays in a number of STEM fields today, Ryoo believes that teaching coding is a gateway to introduce the unlimited possibilities available in STEM professions.
The Penn State Bookstores, managed by Barnes and Noble, announced that the proposed STEM Program for Young Women at Penn State Altoona will receive start-up funding as part of its University-wide grant program.
The program will award $825,000 in grants to the Penn State community over the next five years to seed new initiatives among students and faculty that will advance the University’s most pressing academic priorities. The grants are part of a larger University-wide, five-year philanthropic commitment of $1.25 million from the Penn State Bookstores, which in addition to the grant program, supports the Faculty/Staff Forum, the Four Diamonds Fund, and the Library Enrichment Fund. •