When recent BYU Marriott School of Business MISM graduate Allyson Irwin was trying to find a coding camp for young students that she could work for last summer, she was surprised at the lack of options. While plenty of technical camps were available to adults, Irwin couldn’t find any introductory programs for young people who were curious about the field. The absence of a coding camp for beginners became the inspiration for Code Adventure, a coding camp for young girls to learn the basics of coding and the countless ways coding is used in a variety of fields.
Code Adventure is the capstone project for Irwin, a native of La Habra, California, and her fellow group members, recent MISM graduates Andrew Kimball of Laguna Beach, California; Ben Olson of Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Gage Poulson of San Diego.
The program is a three-day camp running from June 8–10, 2022, and is open to girls between the ages of 14–18 with little to no coding experience. Code Adventure will feature different modules that cover a variety of different topics within information systems (IS) and hands-on activities in each module. The camp will also feature a lineup of female guest speakers from the IS field who will share their stories about working in technology in addition to a career panel.
Although the capstone project fulfilled a graduation requirement for Irwin and her team members, Code Adventure is more than just a final project for those involved. For Irwin, the event carries personal meaning. As a woman in the IS program and the tech industry, Irwin is accustomed to being one of the few women in most of her classes and work environments. By educating young women about coding and the possibilities in pursuing a career in technology, she is hoping to minimize the enrollment gap between men and women in future IS classes and in the professional technological world.
“I'm the only woman in the whole tech department at my current job. I think this is because many girls are unaware of the strengths they can bring to the table. Women bring different perspectives and experiences,” explains Irwin. “Many men consider a career in technology, but not a lot of women do the same. We need more women in technology and IS fields, and Code Adventure is a good way to start piquing girls’ interest."
Kimball is another one of the brains behind Code Adventure and appreciates being a part of something that will hopefully have a lasting influence in the lives of the participants. “Women are underrepresented in the technology field, so coming up with a camp that inspires young women to pursue tech is extremely exciting,” says Kimball. “This is definitely a noble project, which is what motivated me to join.”
“Odds are, if you ask a high school girl whether or not she likes to code, she would probably say no. But coding is so fun, and many people don't realize what it’s actually like,” says Irwin. “You don’t have to code every day in order to be in technology. Coding looks different depending on what you’re doing, and some types are better for certain personalities. We want to go deep and show our participants all the different avenues in the technology industry.”
Writer: Marissa Lundeen