Cleo Hutchinson works on a presentation about women’s rights.
Richie DeMaria

If there’s a code that could solve many of the world’s biggest problems, girls like Cleo Hutchinson, 10, may be able to crack it. Seen at the Coding Together Computer Science Summer Program for Girls, she’s making a computer project about women’s rights. “My mom’s kind of a feminist,” she said. “I wanted to show her what I can do.”

For two weeks in July, 25 female participants going into grades 5-11 took the STEM-intensive summer course hosted by representatives of UC Santa Barbara’s computer science program and Dos Pueblos High School’s Engineering Academy. Sisters Michelle Qin (11th grader at DPHS) and Sophia Qin (freshman at UC Berkeley) led the program alongside UCSB computer science professor Diba Mirza and volunteers from the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. The program helps “break the negative cycle” of the lack of diversity in computer science, Mirza said, opening up a world of coding to girls who had, for the most part, never tried it before.

Chloe Crutchfield, 10, found it an “inspiration.” With the words of female-education activist Malala Yousafzai on her shirt and Hidden Figures as a recent camp movie, she saw a world of opportunities ahead. “It’s very important to get girls who code,” she told me. “That’s what this is all about.”


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