By Joyce LEE
GirlTech, a new but growing club at Crescenta Valley High School, is garnering attention for its inspiring theme. Kortney Casanova and Anushka Sagar founded the club with the purpose of exposing young women to the career possibilities that coding has to offer. By equipping them with basic skills and knowledge on how to code, Casanova and Sagar hope to raise the percentage of women in the engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) industries, which is at a low 18%.
“Kortney represents the girls who have not expressed an interest in technology and I represent the girls who are looking for opportunities to practice their interest in technology,” senior and co-president Anushka Sagar said. “We thought that both of our perspectives could be of help in exposing young girls with varying skill sets to a specific STEM area.”
But GirlTech does not exclude male students, as the club’s goal is to provide a comfortable and equal environment for aspiring scientists whatever their gender. Students Justin Park and Jacob Poole are both experienced members of the coding program Unity, and play a major role as directors in teaching the members. GirlTech plans to utilize Unity to create and sell a game application on iTunes by the end of the year.
“We teach the members to look to the straightforward controls of the celebrated game ‘Flappy Bird’ to learn about basic coding and game-building fundamentals. They will use these lessons to develop their own characters, backgrounds, and controls,” Sagar said.
Lynn Martos-Repath, a parent volunteer of GirlTech, invites guest speakers from JPL and NASA to share their real-world experiences. By doing so, members will be a step closer to achieving their dreams. Martos-Repath also reaches out to local organizations for possible future collaborations. Casanova and Sagar credit her and Dr. Greg Neat, the Crescenta Valley High School robotics teacher, for providing a stable support system.
Casanova and Sagar are in the process of recruiting more members to GirlTech, which continues to grow.
“Not only do we hope to inspire the members to pursue careers in the STEM industry, but we also strive to provide them with a broader understanding of the use of technology in the world beyond high school,” Sagar said.
GirlTech meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays in Dr. Neat’s room at the high school.