Tides Foundation Makes MAGIC Happen for Girls in CS

04-20-2016
Writer(s): Jesica E. Hollinger

Young women aspiring to become the next generation of computer scientists will get a boost, thanks to a generous gift from the Google Inc. Ignite CS Program to benefit Mentors for Aspiring Girls in Computing (MAGIC). 

MAGIC is a K-12 outreach effort created to introduce and inspire young women about the possibilities in the field of computing. Phil Sands, Outreach Coordinator, said the CS Department is working hard to

MAGICengage young women in computing, and the generous contribution from the Tides Foundation will go a long way toward furthering support for their programming.

“The benefits we’ve seen in developing near-peer relationships between Purdue undergraduate women and the mentees in our program are immeasurable,” Sands said. “These first positive experiences can change perceptions, and open entirely new avenues for the young people we work with,” he added.

The MAGIC high school program engages young women in several activities designed to develop interest in computing and build confidence in their abilities. Purdue student mentors visit participating schools in order to help guide the young women on their way towards greater participation in computer science.

Janka Gal and Raj Iyer, teaching assistants and mentors to the program, wrote the successful grant proposal to Google. “We plan on working with students from McCutcheon High School, Jefferson High School, and West Lafayette Community School and we will be using Google's gift to help buy Raspberry Pis and Arduinos,” Gal said. “We've mostly focused on programming software so we're excited to use this opportunity to teach students how to program hardware and expose them to more areas of Computer Science,” she added. 

IgniteCS is a Google initiative that supports groups of college students who want to make a difference in their local communities through computer science mentoring. The gift was made to Professor Susanne Hambrusch, who serves as faculty advisor of the group.