Women in Engineering wins Google grant

March 26, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) is sharing in a 2015 Google Rise Award partnership grant.

WIEP will work with Science Buddies and girlSPARC to help interest young students in computer science.

The Google Rise Awards support organizations that engage girls and underrepresented students in extracurricular computer science programs. This year, Google is giving $1.5 million in Rise Award funding to 37 organizations in 17 countries.

WIEP and its partners will receive $85,000.

Their goals are to bring Science Buddies' new Raspberry Pi Interactive Coding Kit (PICK) to girls who participate in extracurricular programs sponsored by WIEP and girlSPARC; gain insight into how best to use the kit in such programs; and enrich the computer science curriculum of the WIEP and girlSPARC programs.

Through Raspberry PICK, students ages 8 to 16 use coding and circuit building to make interactive art and games.

Science Buddies, a nonprofit organization that provides students, parents and teachers with free project ideas and help in all areas of science, has offered the kit for home use. The partnership will give Science Buddies a chance to use the kit to reach more students, especially girls, who might not select it on their own.

Together, Science Buddies and WIEP will design a curriculum for using Raspberry PICK in several of WIEP's existing pre-college outreach programs. The integration of Raspberry PICK will allow WIEP to add a computer science summer session in June.

The curriculum developed will be further tested by girlSPARC, (A Girls Science Plus Arithmetic Club), a Mountain View, California-based organization that helps girls build problem-solving skills, increases their confidence and exposes them to these subjects in a fun and collaborative environment.  

girlSPARC was founded by two Purdue engineering alumnae, Anita Mathew and Tracy Stone. 

Media contact: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources: Jennifer Groh, WIEP associate director, jgroh@purdue.edu

Sue Bayley, WIEP outreach coordinator, sbayley@purdue.edu  

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