Geek for Good 2015

At Geek for Good 2015, 24 Girl Scout Cadettes from the Dallas area built websites about issues in their community and the world. The three-day coding camp was a months-long collaboration between Bold Idea, AT&T and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

Our goal was to help the girls, ages 11 – 13, learn how technology can address social issues and then give them the coding basics to do just that. After some hands-on experience with front-end web development, including HTML and CSS, girls worked in teams of three or four to build a website about a social issue, including bullying and world hunger.

Each girl was responsible for building one page for the team website. With a little HTML code and CSS, they created a menu that linked each of their pages to one another. This is the sixth web development workshop we’ve organized (though the longest), and each time the girls continue to amaze us with how much they’re able to learn and accomplish in such a short amount of time.

The girls connected to their team members quickly. Although teambuilding games and grouped tables helped, it was the goal of building something about a shared passion that brought the girls together. “I love my team and our work. We did an amazing job and worked hard!” said 6th-grader Caris.

Other girls like 8th-grader Hope enjoyed the hands-on coding and fully understanding “what happens to make a website.” We’re encouraged that most want to keep learning web development and to stay challenged with more CSS and JavaScript.

Teams worked alongside mentors, including web developers, professionals at AT&T and even computer science students at the University of Texas at Dallas. A few even represented local chapters of Women Who Code and Girl Develop It.

On the final day, the teams presented what they learned about their cause and how they shared that message through their website. Day 3 also included a tour of the AT&T Foundry in Plano and a panel presentation with AT&T women leaders.

Geek for Good represents what is fundamental to our mission. Rather than prepare young people for their future, we want give them the coding skills and confidence to be young innovators now.

These days, pre-teen and teen girls are embracing the name "geek girl," and we’re excited to help encourage that movement. Geeks are tech-savvy. Not just active users of technology, they are also builders of that technology. When girls realize they can build a website, mobile app or video game to make the world a better place, they are motivated to learn and wear the ‘geek’ name proudly.

Huge shout out to the following people who collaboratively made Geek for Good 2015 possible:

  • Our event sponsor AT&T Women of Technology and our project collaborators, Kelly Chrietzberg, Lisa Hood and Yvette Caudle
  • Stacy Cushing and Karlynda Poage from Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
  • Team mentors Justin Noel, Desiree’ Bryant, Carole Bennett, Barbara Theulen, Abby Miller, Aidan Dewar, Marta Soncodi, Amelia Moore, Kris MacKay, Poornima Bynagari, Matt Sutton and Julie Rauer
  • Guest speakers Representative Linda Koop, Candy Conway, Marachel Knight, Evie McGerr and Sandy Hall