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Stanford Code Camp serves Bay Area teen girls

Approximately 200 girls from 100 Bay Area high schools – including Los Altos High – attended the annual Code Camp organized by Stanford University’s Girls Teaching Girls to Code program.

In the free eight-hour camp April 21, teen girls learned from 60 female Stanford students.

The camp was established six years ago to increase the participants’ passion for computer science and help them explore new interests, according to organizers.

“If you haven’t thought a lot about computer science, don’t be afraid to explore it,” said Caroline Cin-kay Ho, executive lead of Code Camp. “No matter where your interests lie – biology, art, education, policy or another area – there’s something in it for you.”

In the morning, participants learned to write basic programs, working together and with additional mentor assistance. In the afternoon, campers were divided into groups by special-interest tracks, and mentors taught them about topics ranging from virtual reality to web design.

More tracks on virtual reality and artificial intelligence were included in this year’s Code Camp to meet current interests.

Other tracks examined the intersection of computer science with other subjects. In Computational Biology, students learned how computers could predict protein structure and sequences.

Natural Language Processing, led by Julia Gong, examined the intersection of computer science and linguistics. Gong explained that the combination enables computers to reason like humans would. Campers learned how to write emotionally charged paragraphs and built an algorithm that identified and scored the amount of positivity and negativity in those paragraphs.

Along with learning coding basics, campers had the opportunity to bond with their Stanford mentors, who came from many different areas of study. Students discussed not only computer science with the mentors, but also college life and other subjects.

For more information, visit gtgtc.stanford.edu.

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