Last month, the BILWIC (Bilkent Women in Computing) student organization participated in this year’s Chapterthon, a global event organized by Internet Society (ISOC) chapters. BILWIC’s Chapterthon project, “Coding Sisters,” took place on November 12 and brought 40 middle-school and ninth-grade girls to campus to learn how to code.
The Internet Society promotes the goal of an “open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy” internet. All ISOC chapters are eligible to participate in Chapterthon by implementing a project set around a global objective. This year’s theme was “Digital Schools,” with the objective of developing education and the internet. Projects were required to fall into one of four categories: digital literacy; online lectures; training people in the community; and developing connectivity for a school or an educational institution.
A total of thirty-one projects were submitted for this year’s Chapterthon, by chapters from five continents. “Coding Sisters” was the only project from Turkey.
The aim of BILWIC’s project was to optimize opportunities for girls to become involved in the STEM fields and internet studies. The project focused on closing Turkey’s gender gap in this area by educating young people on how women can be successful in technology with the help of digital tools.
The centerpiece of the project consisted of coding lessons, using Oracle Academy’s Alice tool as a first step. The girls also had a tour of Bilkent University and enjoyed chatting with BILWIC members, who equally enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the youngsters.
Following completion of the project, the organizers expressed their appreciation to Oracle Academy and to Gönüllü Eğitim Projesi (the Voluntary Education Project) – which had helped reach out to the middle-school students and provide transportation for them – for their support of “Coding Sisters.”