Branch Meeting Programs

April 17, 2021

Program – STEM and Coding

Laura Bustos – Putnam Elementary

Laura Bustos is the Technology teacher at Putnam Elementary. In 2017 she attended a conference that introduced her to the staggering statistics regarding Computer Science fields and minority populations. This became her passion to provide equitable opportunities for the students at Putnam.

To date, Putnam has received over $70,000 in grants to provide hands on devices that engage the students in computer science and STEM skills. Once again, the statistics revealed that Women account for about only 20% of the bachelor’s degrees in engineering, computer science, and physics, and it is in the Middle School years that girl’s loose interest in STEM activities. Bonnie Ross of Microsoft says that “connecting a sense of fun and creativity to computers and technology is crucial to getting and keeping girls engaged”.

Putnam was awarded a grant to provide an after-school program for girls and coding. Girls who Code is a non-profit organization founded by Reshma Saujani in 2012. Girls Who Code values diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential to their mission. They focus not only on gender diversity but also on young women who are historically underrepresented in computer science fields. We used our grant funds to purchase hands on devices that appeal to creativity and fun. It is our goal to engage our female population and provide opportunities to explore with these devices that allow for personal inspiration and flair. It is our goal to inspire our 5th grade students to continue to pursue STEM studies in Middle School and on into High School.