First Bytes Summer Camp Introduces Girls to Computer Science


The annual First Bytes Summer Camp, sponsored by UTCS, began on June 20th, 2010 on the UT campus. The free week-long camp illustrates the wow of a career in technology to selected Texas high school girls. Campers work together on projects, tour local technology companies, meet professional computer scientists, play games, enjoy campus life, and get a taste of what it’s like to have a fascinating, well-paying job.

This is the eighth time UTCS has hosted the camp. The reason? Women represent about 60 percent of college graduates nationally, but their representation in computer science is about 15 percent. Oftentimes, girls see computer science as too hard, geeky, or a solitary occupation. First Bytes offers a more accurate picture.

The reality is that technological development is very collaborative. Corporations bend over backwards to keep highly trained professionals happy at work and home. And it is fun to create something new whether its benefit to society is profound or just amusing.

Camp activities included career mentoring, programming language labs, logic games, computer dissection, and panel discussions. The finale event was an Oscar party, where the students showed movie shorts they created using the Alice programming language.

All expenses were paid by generous sponsors, including Google, Lockheed Martin, Cisco Systems, Amazon.com, Texas Film Commission, and the Texas Workforce Commission. Google also funded the annual UTCS high school teacher’s camp held in July.

For more information: http://outreach.cs.utexas.edu/firstbytes/

News 8 Austin report: http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/271996/camp-offers-high-school-girls-computer-science?ap=1&MP4

College of Natural Sciences article: http://web5.cns.utexas.edu/news/2010/06/first-bytes-camp/

Video: http://www.utexas.edu/know/2009/03/10/young-women-check-out-college-technology/

Contact: Mary Esther Middleton, mem [at] cs [dot] utexas [dot] edu, 512.471.9703;
Tiffany Grady, tgrady [at] cs [dot] utexas [dot] edu, 512.471.9523