Pa. first lady highlights STEM education for young girls

The state has dedicated $30 million toward STEM and computer science education.

Justin Udo
September 25, 2018 - 6:22 pm
First Lady Frances Wolf joins Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani at William D. Kelley School to highlight investment in STEM education for young women.

The Office of Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania is taking aggressive action to get young women more involved in the tech industry.

The governor's PAsmart initiative is investing $30 million toward STEM and computer science education for K-12 students. First Lady Frances Wolf joined Girls Who Code CEO and founder Reshma Saujani to emphasize the importance of tech education for young girls.

The nonprofit Girls Who Code uses after-school programs and in-school curriculums to get young girls interested in technology.

"If we care — and I do deeply about equity, about opportunity for women, for communities of color — we have to make sure we're exposing our young people to computer sciences as early as we possibly can," Saujani said. "We're going to get that curriculum in the hands in the hands of every single Pennsylvania student, boys and girls."

During a Girls Who Code event at William D. Kelley School in West Philadelphia on Tuesday, Wolf talked about PAsmart's impact.

"We don't want women to be left behind," Wolf said. "We don't want girls to be left behind, and so we're giving them the extra push to join the workforce in a stronger fashion."

Part of that push is ramping up programs like Girls Who Code by helping them expand, alongside lesson plans based on women in tech.

During the day, the girls got to see just how many careers and opportunities exist through coding and technology, which they say has sparked a new interest in their lives.

For Tatyena Gray, an eighth-grader at William D. Kelley who wants to become an OB-GYN, the coding exercises and informational session showed her that tech is applicable to what she wants to do, too.

"There's a lot of stuff you can do that's on the computer or using technology," she said. "It made me feel like I can do anything."