BIDDEFORD, Maine — To help young girls break through barriers in tech fields, one camp is bringing computer science education throughout Maine this summer.
Girls Who Code is a camp and club designed to expand coding education to young girls across the country to help close the gender gap in the profession.
"We want to make sure that they feel safe and comfortable to explore that career area, and so girls who code is kind of closing that gender gap," Project Login Program Specialist Shelby Bryant said. "Together they're going to make a difference."
Girls are able to take on any kind of project that they want and work on them for the week-long duration of the program.
"It feels good. It's like there are other people who have the same interests as me," 10-year-old Sophia Hatt said.
In between, girls connect with real-life examples in their area of women currently working in tech fields.
"We really try to encourage everybody to realize that they don't have to leave the state to continue this profession," Bryant added.
To also help break down financial barriers, each camp hosted in Maine this year has been free to join. Each camper is able to take home the laptop they're using for free as well. That's thanks to donations from community partners, like 'Give IT Get IT' from Waterville.
Helping facilitate the program out of Biddeford's McAurthur Public Library is Joe Sanderson. Coming from a tech background himself, he agrees there is a great need for a new generation of tech thinkers in the state.
"Maine needs qualified people to fill these jobs of the future," Sanderson said. "So building up that pipeline; we're not going to be able to do it if we don't include everybody."