A camp created for young women in Greensboro aims to get them involved in technology related fields.
The Smart Code of Life camp is a program geared towards teaching young girls subjects relating to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Some of the things they learn include coding and neuroscience. The person responsible for teaching them is a student not much older than they are.
Ambica Ramchandra, a senior at STEM Early College at N.C. A&T, founded the camp with the goal of sharing her passions with other young women.
“There is beauty in pursuing unconventional activities,” said Ramchandra to the “News & Record.”
Smart Code of Life camp, which is free for students to attend, began in 2017. Ramchandra had the idea of combining her interests in neuroscience, entrepreneurship, coding and computer science. She felt that there was a lack of STEM focused camps and programs for middle school aged students, specifically young women.
Over 20 young women attended the most recent camp held in a University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) computer lab. The National Center for Women and Information Technology donated a $3,000 grant for the 2018-2019 school year. The camp held in the fall of 2018 was specifically for refugee students.
The camp includes three hands-on curriculums for its attendees: a brain science curriculum relating neuroscience and technology, leading to the exploration of the “Internet of Things”; a technology curriculum utilizing the MIT App Inventor, a web application that helps beginner computer programmers ways to create software applications for the Android system; and an entrepreneurship curriculum focused on exploring the ways that STEM can make an impact on society.
The camp does not require participants to have coding experience, just a desire to learn.
Riya Kannan, an eighth-grader from the Academy at Lincoln with an interest in science and technology, heard about the camp through friends. She is really interested in the Internet of Things, which is included in one of the curriculums featured at the camp.
“It’s really cool how you can have objects talk to each other,” said Kannan to the News & Record. She has been an attendant of the camp since 2017, and last year her group made sensors for the visually impaired that aids in mobility.
Ramchandra wanted to show girls, “how easy it can be to code and to play around so they are not as scared anymore,” according to the News & Record. She hopes to expand the program to other communities, which is already being developed in Hillsborough and Fayetteville. She is also hoping to open a chapter when she starts college in the fall.