Girls Computer Camp addresses gender gap


The Fairfield County Community Foundation Fund for Women and Girls is awarding a second year of a two-year $7,752 grant to the Girls Computer Camp for students from Bridgeport, Milford, West Haven, Ansonia and Stratford.

The Girls Computer Camp, based at Fairfield University, aims to bridge the gender gap in the technology fields by boosting area girls' skills and confidence. Also supporting the program's goals is a third year $2,200 grant from the Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW); a two-year $2,000 grant from The Harvey Hubbell Foundation; and $1,250 from Fairfield University.

"The anticipated long-term effect of the project is to help shape tomorrow's female leaders in the field of technology," said Zabinski, a Fairfield professor of engineering and founder and executive director of National Computer Camps (www.NCCamp.com), the country's original computer camp.

Based on the successful girls computer camp Zabinski previously directed at Fairfield, the two-year Technology Camp for Girls was designed to bolster the computer and leadership skills of 50 girls entering seventh grade in five local school districts. Liaison teachers were selected to assist the campers in each district and female counselors make up the majority of the staff serving as role models and fostering intergenerational, gender-affirming bonds. Following the camp experience, the liaison teachers will organize and mentor computer clubs at their schools with the campers serving as leaders.

The project directly addresses the large gender gap in technology and, in particular, computer science. Though girls perform as well as boys on Connecticut mastery tests and other standard exams, far fewer girls seek out educational and career possibilities in computers.

The camp will take place this summer from July 30 through August 3and the girls will use Fairfield's state-of-the-art facilities to learn more about web page design, computer programming and computer graphics.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of philanthropy to strengthen local communities and the region. Since 1992, individuals and organizations have established charitable funds and contributed to existing funds that support community and economic development, children and youth, education, the environment, health and human services, and the arts. With assets approaching $83 million, the Foundation awarded more than $7.5 million in grants last year. In addition, the Foundation provides philanthropy advisory services and develops initiatives to address critical community issues. The Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundation's national standards for community foundations. For more information, visit http://www.fccfoundation.org or call (203) 834-9393.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation Fund for Women and Girls is a field of interest fund of the Foundation (FCCF) that was established to expand the capacity of women to be effective philanthropists.

Specifically, the Fund was created by women for women to:

  • Identify and effectively address the needs of women and girls in Fairfield County;
  • Educate women about philanthropy and engage them in creating change through collective, targeted giving; and
  • Raise a permanent endowment to generate support for programs that foster the economic, educational, physical, emotional, and social growth of women and girls.

The Fund for Women and Girls is designed to change its grant-making focus every few years to address the changing needs of women and girls in Fairfield County.For more information about the Fairfield County community Foundation Fund, please call (203) 834-9393 to visit www.fccfoundation.org.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 22, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 244