Girls Tech Together aims to bridge gender gap in STEM
Divita Taduvayi, a rising senior at MOT Charter High School, started Girls Tech Together to introduce computer science skills to elementary school girls.
Efforts have been made to close the gender disparity in STEM fields, but inequality persists. She wants to make the gap even smaller.
“I wanted to do my part in closing that gap because girls are not given that many opportunities to explore the field, especially at an early age, and I really wanted to change that,” the Bear resident said.
She began doing in-person sessions in February at the Greater Newark Boys and Girls Club. She moved online when the pandemic hit.
Girls Tech Together teaches fundamental coding concepts, such as loops, functions and conditionals in a five-week, 10-class program. At the end, every student creates a final project — an app or a game — to present to their friends and family.
“Seeing their enthusiasm in the field, especially when presenting their projects on the final day that they are proud of, it’s really refreshing to see that,” she said. “I feel fulfilled knowing it might encourage them to pursue a career in the STEM field. Even if it’s just one girl, it makes a difference and helps change the opportunity gap.”
Taduvayi said she teaches digital literacy and online responsibility.
She is running two sessions right now with elementary students from all over New Castle County, including Olive B. Loss, Cedar Lane, Lorewood Grove and MOT Charter schools.
Taduvayi’s brother Arnav, a rising eight grader at Odyssey Charter School, helps teach.
“I wanted to get him involved because once I go off to college, I wanted the program to be sustainable,” she said.
Arnav Taduvayi said there is an interactive activity in every class that keeps the girls engaged.
“They are always having fun during them,” he said.
Divita Taduvayi’s interest in coding started in middle school. When she entered high school, she noticed the gender disparity in her classes.
“I was doing computer science courses, and I knew there was a really big gap for girls in the STEM field,” she said. “I want to spread my love for coding with other girls and give them resources and opportunities to succeed in the computer science field.”
Divita Taduvayi said she wants to create a sister organization to expose eighth and ninth graders to concepts taught in Advanced Placement computer science courses.
“Hopefully, it will give them a pathway to studying the course or being better prepared to take it,” she said.
More can be found at girlstechtogether.org.