Maize mom leads school coding club, works to close gender gap in STEM

MAIZE, Kan. (KAKE) -

Amanda Wadsworth, a mom of students at Vermillion Elementary School in Maize, started a club for girls to teach coding and encourage STEM education. 

"Coding is telling the computer what to do," said Wadsworth, "Anything you could possibly imagine, I mean these girls are playing with music and they make videos, and quizzes."

The group is part of a national non-profit called "Girls Who Code" which teaches thousands of third to fifth grade girls how to code on computers and tablets. 

"There's little blocks of code, and you stack them together, and then when you push enter, it will start doing whatever kind of block you put in there," said Addison, Wadsworth's third grade daughter.

Wadsworth made a career out of coding, but said it was one of her daughters who inspired her to start the club. "She came into my office, and she was so interested."

She said she tried to find a coding club for her daughter to join, but couldn't find one in the area, so she started one at the elementary school. 

The Girls Who Code club is now made up of 16 girls from Vermillion Elementary. 

"It's just fun, and it's a way to do things that are out of your comfort zone and try new things," said fifth grader Bryce Banick.

Fourth grader Gisele Geromel didn't know how to code before she joined the group. It's something she looks forward to doing after school now. 

Geromel said she might even want to pursue a STEM career when she gets older. 

"I'm in between a few things, I'm not really sure yet, but an astronaut is definitely in there," said Geromel, "I like space because it's never-ending which is really mind blowing to me that it keeps going and going, and so I like to explore that."

Wadsworth hopes the group will encourage the girls who dream of eventually working in computer science or a related field will be inspired by the Girls Who Code Club. 

The club meets after school once a week when school is in session. Wadsworth also leads another coding club at the school for boys and girls.