Coding Camp

WiSE's coding camp is designed to introduce middle school and high school girls to the exciting field of computer science. Led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's computer scientists, post docs, and PHD students, the course introduces students to computer science fundamentals through the Python programming language. Over the course of several weeks, students are immersed in a series of lectures and activities that not only introduces them to a potential career, but also provides them with the basic coding skills necessary to continue exploring the field on their own!


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WiSE was able to hold another successful coding camp in 2021, virtually over Zoom! Over 2o girls from all over Long Island and New York City participated in this years camp. Over the course of four weekends, students were introduced to the fundamentals of coding through lectures from some of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's finest computer scientists. Following each lecture, students were split into small groups to practice the concepts they had learned. We hope that the girls enjoyed their experience and will continue to improve their coding skills in the future!


WiSE instructors, TAs, and organizers gathered in 2019 to begin preparing for the 2020 WISE Coding Camp. A camp specifically designed to encourage more girls to enter the field of coding. The class consisted of girls from grades 8-12 who need not have any experience before the start of the course. We met 4 days in total in January and February of 2020 and what a way to start of the new year! Our lead instructors were Olivia, Andrea, Tumi, and Shaina. Our TAs were Jonathan, Corey, and Julia. Our organizers were Deedee, Cassidy, and Rhonda. The class was structured in such a way that discussion, participation, and individual activities were encouraged. Our instructors with the help of our assistants helped guide lessons and then walked around to help students with their individual problems. We even gave homework! To keep the girls engaged while not in the course and spread their understanding out over more than 4 days.

In terms of the curriculum, or skills gained while attending this course, we went through a lot! On Day 1, we jumped right into coding python, by using variables, printing outputs, using booleans, and “if” statements. On Day 2, we dove right into using loops and solidified our understanding by creating an 8 Ball task. Students had to code a magic 8 ball, and some presented their programs to the rest of the class. Simply input a question and a response would randomly be selected for the person asking. And people soon realized there were multiple ways to create this type of program and that coding really can be used in a variety of different ways. On Day 3, we discussed while loops, array and array indexing, as well as string and string indexing. On Day 4, we had a huge review of everything we’ve done in the class as well as solving a problem related to scientific research, converting RNA into an amino acid protein code.


WiSE outreach hosted a two-day introductory coding camp for girls April 28-29, 2018.  This event was designed for girls in grades 8-12 interested in learning the basics of computer programming.  Thirty girls from the Long Island attended, eager to learn from our instructors, three brilliant graduate students: Shaina Lu, Lizzie Hutton, and Elsie Gibson, who use computer programming in their research. Using the Khan Academy JavaScript live editor platform, they introduced the girls to the fundamentals of writing javascript code, including the concept of variables and if-then statements.  The girls then used what they learned to draw and animate a sun on javascript, which left a lot of room for creativity.  At the end, the teachers highlighted the applications of computer programming in science and discussed internet safety. This event was successful in exposing the girls to computer programming for the first time, and we hope they will continue to learn about coding through the free Khan Academy tools.

Past Instructors

Andrea Moffitt

Corey Elowsky

Shaina Lu

Tumi Tran

Olivia Ramos

Jonathan Werner

Marygrace Trousdell

Nissim Ranade

Julia Wang

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