April 28, 2017 Meeting – special start time – 5:30 p.m. at 25N Coworking

On Friday, we are excited to welcome Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, as our last web chat of the 2016-17 school year.  Our web chat series this year has given the girls of FVGCC great insight into everything from being a current computer science student at DePaul University to possibilities of careers in cyber security or starting their own tech start up.  We can not wait to talk with Ms. Lannert about her path to Jellyvision and what skills and characteristics she believes led to her receiving recent Moxie Awards for both CEO of the Year and Top Woman in Tech!  Looking forward to a great conversation.

After our web chat at 5:30, we will continue our mobile programming work. Hard to believe, but this is the last meeting where we will be working in depth on our coding project.  Next week, we wrap up the school year meetings with a Taco Bar send off party for our Senior members and will plan and brainstorm for our 2017-18 school year.

At the end of May, FVGCC will be participating in our first Hack-a-thon event through Chicago Hacks.  Stay tuned for updates on the project we decide to complete at the event and how we survive 24 hours straight of coding and community!

See you Friday at 5:30 p.m. at 25N Coworking in the boardroom.

FVGCC’s First Web Chat – Fiona Baenziger and Lily Fisher – DePaul University Computer Science Majors

Fox Valley Girls Coding Club was so excited to hold their first web chat in November 2016.  With the newly introduced web chats and guest speakers, FVGCC is looking forward to reinforcing topic areas that we will be tackling in our monthly meetings as well as introducing club members to areas within the computing industry that may be of interest to them after high school.

In our first web chat, we spoke with Fiona and Lily, Computer Science majors at DePaul University.  Here is some of what they shared with us:

On their computer-related background prior to College:

Lily: In High School, Lily took AP Computer Science and was on the Robotics Team. She also learned Python while in high school.

Fiona: Fiona’s Dad is a professional Software Developer. Fiona learned Scratch at age 12. She started out in a different major at DePaul, but came back to Computer Science

Advice/Shared Experiences with our club members:

  • Women going into Computer Science need to stay focused, have a plan, and execute.
  • Start networking now!  Go to events.  Meet other girls/women involved at all levels of Computer Science.
  • Computer Science is like a puzzle. Don’t be afraid to try and fail.  You can only find success and what types of projects you like by continuing to try.
  • Lily started the DePaul chapter of the ACM-W (Association of Computing Machinery for Women – women.acm.org !  Great example that if the community you are looking for does not exist at your high school or college – be brave and create it yourself.
  • The gender gap in technology is real.  Lily and Fiona want to change the perception that software developers are just nerds with a computer and we at FVGCC can each help with that too.  Don’t be afraid to let others know that you are a girl who likes Computer Science!
  • They both like working with and encouraging younger girls to use Computer Science for things they enjoy; for example, animal advocacy.  Successes come when you can use what you learn in coding to create something you are passionate about.
  • Go out of your comfort zone!  As the CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, says – “Teach girls bravery, not perfection.”
  • “Volunteering for Girls Who Code changed my life.” – Fiona.  This volunteering opportunity gave me a deeper understanding of how impacting other girls and serving as a role model, helped me to develop a stronger commitment and connection to what I am studying.
  • Take on challenges like the Technovation Challenge
  • Apply for the NCWIT Aspirations Awards

Thanks to Fiona and Lily for being such great inspirations to FVGCC.  We look forward to continuing to see more of our girls following in their footsteps and entering Computer Science in college!

Meet Julie Pak, CEO of RazorX2

FVGCC wants to thank Julie Pak for an amazing web chat on Friday, February 24.  Ms. Pak shared her experiences in business and computer science that led to her starting her own company, RazorX2, while still in her 20’s.  Here are some of the highlights of her background and our web chat discussion.  Ms. Pak received a Business degree from  University of Illinois and a Masters degree in Computer Science from University of Chicago. Ms. Pak’s career has spanned investment banking, working for the Department of Defense, and now running her own successful business that finds effective and efficient solutions for federal government projects.

While speaking with FVGCC, Ms. Pak shared activities that would be great for girls looking to explore computer science:

  • Hack-a-thons:  Participate in one!  You can be a novice or a seasoned programmer – just join in.
  • Internships – look for paid or unpaid opportunities in a career that appeals to you.
  • Start a blog or a website.  Just find something that interests you and start a project now!
  • Get an account on GitHub and start creating.
  • Use free online resources to always be learning:  Code Academy, Code.org, etc.
  • Find a programming language that speaks to you and learn that one first.
  • Read!  Some potential books to start with:  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, or Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Ms. Pak also shared great advice on supporting other girls who have similar interests in technology.  She reminded our FVGCC girls that it is great to look ahead at your future and to look up for your mentors, but to also remember to look back to help other girls who are looking to you as an example.  During the web chat, she also let the girls know that it is important to know that you have earned the opportunities you get and your “seat at the table”.  Don’t discount your abilities even if you are the only girl at the table.  Her final message was to support each other.  This is a sisterhood.  So, learn all you can, support others, create what interests you and solves a problem, and BE KIND!

Thanks Ms. Pak for your great insight and inspiration!


2016-17 FVGCC Meeting Schedule Set!

Starting on October 14, FVGCC will begin meeting for the 2016-17 school year Friday evenings from 5:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. at 25N Coworking on 3rd Street in downtown Geneva.  This year’s coding projects include mobile app projects, completion of the Geneva Film Festival Website, and holding a Girls Make Apps workshop.  FVGCC is open to all girls, ages 14-18.  Limited spaces are available so please sign up now!  Contact us at fvgcc12@gmail.com.

Meeting Schedule

October – 14, 21, 28 – Scratch!

November – 4, 11, 18 – JavaScript

December – 9, 16 – Web (HTML, CSS & JavaScript with NetBeans)

January – 6, 13, 27 – Gaming (JavaScript on the Web, Di-sect the Snake Game, Jan 13 Robotics) 

February – 3, 10, 17 – Mobile (MIT App Inventor)

February – 4th @ 9am,  St. Charles Library AAUW talk

Feb 24 – skype with guest speaker

March – 7 @ 6pm Teen night at Geneva Library

March – 10 Security Speaker & Mobile

March – 17  – Advanced Mobile

April – 7, 21 – Advanced Mobile

April – 28 – Guest Speaker – CEO of Jelly Vision!

May – 5 – Last Meeting – Cinco de Mayo & Planning Session for 2017-18 school year

GoFundMe Campaign Launched on April 22

We are so excited to be launching our first GoFundMe campaign: gofundme.com/fvgcc

As the first girls coding club in the Fox Valley, we are striving to provide high school girls in our community with hands on coding experience.  The funds raised from GoFundMe will be used in these exciting ways for 2016-17:

– A significant amount of money raised will go toward continuing to hold our weekly, school year meetings at 25N Coworking in Geneva, IL. This space allows our girls to learn coding in a modern, creative and tech ready space that is conveniently located near our club members’ high schools. Our goal is to eliminate any financial barriers to girls learning to code so club members do not pay to participate. The only requirement is that they come to meetings curious about coding.

– Through this campaign, we are working together, not only learning how to code, but also how to raise funding for important hardware – Makey, Makey kits for each club member – YES!  With Makey Makey Invention Kits, we can turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. Our club members can use Makey Makey for doing art, engineering, music, design and everything in between.

– Funds from this campaign will also be used for software – to cover our web hosting and sub-domain pages (these pages give our club members an opportunity to put what they are learning to work in their own real-world, creative space), and operating expenses, including marketing and recruiting, so we can expand our home-grown club to serve more girls in 2016-17 and beyond.

We hope you will take a minute to visit our GoFundMe page and choose to support FVGCC!