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When the Girls Who Code club at ASU Preparatory Academy had to suddenly shift from in-person meetings to virtual ones, it wasn’t entirely clear how their projects would continue. But UTO’s volunteer educators took to Zoom to continue the lessons and work with the girls on variables, functions, loops and other coding principles. Even while remote, these Girls Who Code students were able to continue working on one of life’s biggest questions.
At Empower 2019, last year’s ASU IT Professional Community Day, this big question was posed: how do we make a better pizza through technology? Through a series of crowdsourced conversations, this silly, yet creative, question emerged as a means of finding a universal solution through innovation.
At Empower 2020, the University Technology Office was proud to present the answer to this question, as solved by the ASU Prep Girls Who Code students. Girls Who Code is dedicated to educating and providing creative opportunities to young women with the goal of increasing female representation in the STEM world, and the ASU Prep chapter, sponsored and led by UTO employees, was given the goal of devising a means to make a better pizza through technology as a creative exercise.
In this video highlight, the innovative work of these Girls Who Code is on display. Bonnie LeBlanc, UTO Director of Enterprise Solutions, and Sandra Johnson, UTO Special Advisor, helped start the UTO support of the Girls Who Code program in 2019. “Sometimes it brings a tear to my eyes,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing to work with kids who are excited about coding. They want to code. They want a project.”
The “better pizza” effort is, even more impressively, just one facet of the wide range of projects undertaken by the ASU Girls Who Code, which also includes support of homeless people in Arizona, designing an online racetrack, building virtual avatars, finding lost pets, gaming and teaching American Sign Language through an HTML-based website.