Kettering University Computer Science faculty member helps local Girl Scout troop participate in Hour of Code

Code.org helps students find fun ways to learn about Computer Science. Roughly 40 Girl Scouts from Genesee County filled Kettering University classrooms to learn about Computer Science on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Roughly 40 Girl Scouts from Genesee County filled Kettering University classrooms to learn about Computer Science on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The girls, grades fourth through eighth, were part of an event on campus to participate in an “Hour of Code” as part of Code.org’s annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek).

“It’s an opportunity to show young people the fun that there is in problem solving. Computer Science is a discipline built around problem solving,” said Dr. Jim Huggins, associate professor of Computer Science at Kettering University. “Teaching the younger generation about Computer Science can help them to get a sense of what kinds of things you can do with this tool we call a computer.”

Code.org helps students find fun ways to learn about Computer Science, Huggins said. Hour of Code events will be happening across the globe between December 5 and 11.

Last year, Huggins visited two Genesee County elementary schools to help students participate in “Hour of Code” and teach them about career opportunities in Computer Science.

Computer Science Education Week -- held in recognition of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper -- is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in Computer Science. Code.org organizes CSEdWeek as a grassroots campaign supported by more than 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.

On Dec. 3, Huggins taught the young students about different career options for Computer Science. With the help of 10 Kettering students, the Girl Scouts participated in hands-on problem solving activities and then used the “Hour of Code” website (hourofcode.com) to solve some interactive animated puzzles using coding.

Educating kids at a young age about the possibilities that Computer Science offers is important, Huggins said.

“There’s a growing interesting for young people. We see it nationally. We see it locally. Here at Kettering, Computer Science is the third largest degree program,” Huggins said. “It’s a wonderful time to explore Computer Science and discover there’s a lot of good work people can do. It’s not just about writing code. It’s fundamentally about solving problems.

“For people who are interested in making the world a better place, Computer Science is a wonderful place to start.”

Everybody uses computers, Huggins said. It’s something everyone can relate to.

Computer Science students from Kettering have gone on to work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, for insurance companies working on modernizing legacy software, for companies looking at proofs of concepts of the next generation of software and much more.

“I enjoy reaching out to the younger generation and telling them about Computer Science opportunities. There’s inquisitiveness about it that’s exciting and invigorating as students work for the ‘ah ha’ moment,” Huggins said. “When you solve the problem, there’s this rush. It’s fun to watch that in other students.”