ABC7 Unite: High school student empowering girls to learn computer science

Toni Yates Image
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
NJ high school student empowering girls to learn computer science
Toni Yates reports on the ambitious high school who created Bergen CodeHERS.

PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- Computer science is a field dominated by men, but a program in new Jersey is trying to bridge the gender gap.

Bergen CodeHers was created by an ambitious high schooler who wanted to share her love for the field with girls in junior high.

The first thing most people notice about Paramus High School sophomore Danielle Park is her smile and confidence. But many are blown away by her sense of civic duty.

"I want to continue being a catalyst for change and trying to break down the barriers to the gender gap and also the barriers to diversity," Park said.

And she is doing it.

She was inspired after signing up for an AP computer science class her freshman year.

"I was very intimidated and at time I felt obsolete to kin of feel like I belonged in a class that was so male dominated," she said.

She met a learning curve head on.

"In the beginning at times I'm not always the first person to understand a concept," Park said.

But once she did, she decided it was time to make computer science more attractive to girls and easy to grasp.

"So I decided I'm going to create a book that's understandable, affordable and also something that's going to reach children at a young age," Park said. "I also wanted to create a book that is gender-neutral and also race-inclusive."

Park self-published her book, "Under One Condition: An introduction to Computer Science Principles and Programing in Python."

Her book sells for $9.95 and it's the textbook for her computer course that she created to teach 7th and 8th-grade girls.

It's an eight-session, virtual class that will be held starting July 7, Bergen CodeHers.

"To create a future of more civically and politically engaged students," Park said.

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