By Nicole Brewer
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Recent reports show there are less women pursuing education in science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – fields than men.
Females are also under-represented in technology, but perhaps not for long.
A new program from Drexel University and TechGirlz aims to change that.
While the class may look like your average computer class, the girls participating are actually testing a game design curriculum for schools and students nationwide.
“Our hope is that we have more and more young girls and young women getting interested in the tech industry, and in my case, the game industry,” explained Dr. Frank Lee, of Drexel Entrepreneurial Game Studio.
That’s why Dr. Lee teamed up with TechGirlz, a program that gives middle school and high school age students hands-on experience with technology.
“Whether it’s gaming, programming, using robotics…it’s an important part of future careers and economy, so we need to encourage more girls to be participants,” said Tracy Welsonrossman, TechGirlz’s director.
In the group Eyewitness News observed, it was an easy sell.
“Because we can do it, too, and it’s just really fun,” said Schaundra Campbell, a participant.
“Boys shouldn’t be the only ones programming and making video games,” agreed Sydney Jefferson, another TechGirlz participant.
The girls tested out the program and provided feedback for Lee’s team.
“We’re creating new curricula around a two-part game design program. What we’re trying to do is see if what we put together works, and if there’s any bugs,” Welsonrossman explained.
From there, the materials will be made available online, so that girls across the country have the opportunity to learn game design principles, how to code and, most importantly, that they have what it takes to pursue careers in STEM.