Friday, June 18, 2010

Camp designed to win girls over to technology

Thirteen-year-old Ruth Ballenger of Springfield received her own computer to play with Thursday morning. The only problem — it was in pieces.

Ballenger and her partner, Shannon Tavenner, 15, of Paxton, had to take all of the components — such as the motherboard, hard drive, CD-ROM and RAM stick — and put them back together inside a computer lab at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Thirty minutes later, it was time to test the reassembled computer, and Ruth clasped her hands in nervous excitement.

“Yay, we’re the first ones!” she exclaimed after the start-up screen appeared normal.

The girls are among 24 middle school students participating in UIS’ Girl Tech 2010. The two-day camp, in its second year, aims to get girls interested in computer science and strengthen their technology skills.

“The idea is to start with the things that are fun,” UIS computer science instructor Mary Sheila Tracy said.

Girl Tech was featured in a June 18, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article