Day 7-10 of Girls Code the World: CSA Programming

Days 7 through 10 of Girls Code the World: Christina Seix Academy Edition were exciting and jam-packed. The girls worked on and experienced a variety of projects/events, from live chemistry demonstrations by a chemistry teacher, to 3D printing their own keychains, to listening to the Chief Engineer of the Air Force One Project at Boeing talk about her path.

Day 7 started with the following schedule:

9:00 AMMorning Meeting
9:30 AMChemistry Demonstrations: Tom Horsley
10:00 AMSnack and Chat Time / Break
10:30 AMHigh School Students Prep School , Applied Science,
and Women in STEM Panel
11:30 AMClosing Ceremony

Chemistry Demonstrations were perform by Tom Horsley, a teacher and master of Honors and AP Chemistry at The Pennington School, a private college-preparatory school in Pennington, New Jersey. Mr. Horsley has a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Chemistry and a M.C.E. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Horsley blew the girls away – quite literally. He showed the girls a variety of experiments, including some explosions! Below, is pictured Horsley’s famous Rainbow Experiment, a perplexing occurence where transparent liquids are poured into beakers to make different color liquids in a rainbow pattern!

You can find some videos from the demonstrations on our Youtube in the coming weeks!

After Mr. Horsley dropped into our Zoom for a bit, we had a quick Snack and Chat Time, and then we welcomed some high school girls from The Pennington School Applied Science Program. The girls who attended were Ariana Colner, Kenza Idrissi, Shreya Krishnan, Anjollie Ramakrishna, and Neha Kunta.

These girls talked about their experiences as a woman in STEM at the high school level. We have done a lot of research over the past few months about what makes mentorship valuable, especially for girls, and we have found a lot about the importance of having tangible and accessible mentors. Young girls may admire established professors and world-renound doctors, but it is hard for them to see themselves in that position one day because it is so far off into their future. It is most effective in boosting girls’ confidence when they are presented with a variety of role models with a variety of experiences so that they can see themselves attaining that level of expertise.

The program participants asked the high school girls a lot of questions, including:

  • How would you describe your experience as a woman in STEM/IST?
    • What unique experiences have you had associated with this?
  • What obstacles in your education, life, etc. have you had to overcome in order to get where you are today?
    • Who helped you get there?
  • What are your professional and personal goals? Why?
    • How have these formed/changed overtime?
  • If you could give your 6th or 7th grade self one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
  • Is there anything you really wish to share with the group today?
  • What are you doing during the pandemic?
  • What are the hardest coding projects you have ever worked on/completed?

After the panel, we finished the day asking the girls what they thought of the speakers that day, and all of the girls were glowing with excitement and amazement. Many of girls said they wanted to go into chemistry now as a result of the chemistry demonstrations!

Our Day 8 followed this schedule:

9:00 AMMorning Meeting
9:30 AMThe Key to Success Lesson
10:45 AMSnack and Chat Time / Break
11:00 AMWatch Hidden Figures
11:45 AMClosing Ceremony

After the Morning Meeting, the girls took part in The Key to Success Lesson, which is an information tutorial and class on how to create a 3D-Printable model on the computer. Using TinkerCAD software and the 3D Printer available in the Makerspace at The Pennington School, the students will print their own keychain and learn about designing and modeling on TinkerCAD.

This lesson is extremely important in having participants visual computer modeling. We are shipping their 3D-Printed designs to them in the next few days so the girls will eb able to see how their projects went from a picture on their screen to a tangible item they can hold!

Here are some of the projects from the girls:

After The Key to Success Lesson, the girls participated in Snack and Chat Time and then we continued watching Hidden Figures and finished off the day on a low key.

Our Day 9 had the following schedule:

9:00 AMDermatologist and Businesswoman,
Woman in STEM Speaker: Dr. Lisa Espinoza
9:45 AMMorning Meeting
10:00 AMSnack and Chat Time / Break
10:30 AMPrivate High School Admissions Panel
with The Pennington School: Lynn Zahn
11:30 AMClosing Ceremony

Day 9 consisted of an incredible list of speakers. We started off the day with Dr. Lisa Espinoza, a dermatologist and businesswoman.

“Before graduating with honors at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Dr. Espinoza trained and danced for the Los Angeles Classical Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, among others. She then followed her heart and pursued another passion – medicine – by earning a master’s degree and then a medical degree from the Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia where she was Medical School Class President.  She then went on to obtain advanced residency training, acting as Chief Resident and to obtain specialized training in cosmetic dermatology and laser medicine.  She founded La Chele Medical Aesthetics over a decade ago, which now boasts over 6,000 sq ft with 25 employees and 26 lasers.”

The girls were fascinated with her work ethic, dedication, and impressive ability to have a family while balancing a successful career. Her talk was inspirational and a reminder to work for your dreams!

After Dr. Espinoza spoke, the girls had a brief Snack and Chat Time and then we welcomed Lynn Zahn, an admissions counselor at The Pennington School. One of the goals of Christina Seix Academy is to introduce the students to the world of academia and education, starting with prep high schools.

Lynn Zahn spoke about the experience of being a student at a private high school and what the admissions process is like. The girls asked questions about the application is like, where they can get financial aid, what kind of students Pennington looks for, and the resources available at Pennington to be successful. Lynn was extremely genuine, kind, and welcoming to the girls and their questions. We couldn’t have imagined anyone better than her to talk about something as important as their high school decision!

After a day of incredibly valuable information and speakers, we ended it with the Closing Ceremony.

Our Day 10 (the last day of programming!) had the following schedule:

9:00 AMMorning Meeting
9:15 AMChief Engineer of the Air Force One Project at Boeing,
Women in STEM Speaker: Kristin Culler
10:00 AMSnack and Chat Time / Break
10:30 AMSoarin’ and Flyin’ Lesson
11:15 AMAwards Ceremony and Final Closing Ceremony

Early in the morning of our last day of programming, we were beyond grateful to have Kristin Culler, The Chief Engineer of the Air Force One Project (the Presidential Plane) at Boeing, speak about her journey to having such a prominent role in the STEM world.

Kristin graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Civil Engineering and then decided that she wanted to pursue more motion-driven objects, rather than stationary objects, so she went back to Penn State for her masters in Aerospace Engineering. She was very involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and has carried that passion for the community of females in STEM for decades.

Kristin spoke in-depth about the obstacles in the workplace as a woman in STEM. She showed us a picture of one of her meetings in India for a Boeing project, and explained that that environment is not uncommon for her.

As you can see, Kristin is the only female in the room for this meeting. Kristin explained that being the only woman in a room can be scary, so it is extremely important to have mentors who uplift you and support you.

Kristin talked about some of the porjects she has worked on, from rockets to the presidential plane. The girls were amazed by the seemingly complex projects she was capabale of not just working on, but leading.

The only publicly available picture of the Air Force One.

We cannot thank Kristin enough for taking the time out of her busy day to come inspire the girls to continue pursuing their goals and find mentors.

After Kristin spoke, we had a quick Snack and Chat Time and then we moved on to the Soarin’ and Flyin’ Lesson, a lesson designed to test all of the critical thinking skills the girls have developed over the program. The girls are tasked with using only the materials given to them in a pre-packaged box in their MakerBox to build a catapult with a time limit. The girls are given ten minutes to design their catapults in their Programing Workbooks and twenty minutes to build their catapults and are highly encouraged to refer to the Engineering Design Process outlined for them in their Programming Workbooks. We decided to put the girls in pairs in breakout rooms together, encouraging them to bounce ideas off each other throughout the building process (even if they are building their own individual structures).

The girls all made incredible structures and were beyond excited to show us what they were able to accomplish in twenty minutes. Here are some of their results:

After showing our catapults, we moved on to our annual Awards Ceremony. Participating girls got awards like “Most Likely to Make Sure Her Work is Absolutely Perfect” and “Most Likely to Engineer the World”. The girls love getting awards; it makes them feel like their work and dedication over programming was not just noticed, but should be celebrated!

After the Awards Ceremony, Mina and Sydney reminded the girls how to get in contact with them and also shared other resources Girls Code the World has to keep in touch and be sucessful!

Overall, virtual Girls Code the World was a learning curve, but an overall very successful program and opportunity for girls to do fun activities and learn more about how the world works. We are so grateful to Happy Valley LaunchBox and the Summer Founders Program for providing us with the neccessary funding to run our program; we couldn’t have done it without your support and guidance.

To find out more information about how to donate, visit this page. High school and college students, consider applying for our mentorship program, the Aspire Program, here.

Feel free to contact us at any time! Our email is

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