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Montana Code Girls proves programming isn't just for boys - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana Code Girls proves programming isn't just for boys

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Montana Code Girls is an after school program dedicated to building skills in software development for girls from nine 9 to 19. (MTN News photo) Montana Code Girls is an after school program dedicated to building skills in software development for girls from nine 9 to 19. (MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

Montana Governor Steve Bullock was in Missoula on Thursday to show his support for Montana Code Girls -- an after school program dedicated to building skills in software development for girls from nine 9 to 19. 

We live in a world connected.  Through tools like Google and Siri, all of human knowledge can be accessed at any time, from almost anywhere.  As life in the digital age progresses, more and more jobs in science, technology, engineering and math will be necessary. 

But these fields are traditionally viewed as male-centric, but now, steps are being taken to tear down gender barriers -- and that's where Montana Code Girls comes in.

"It helps other young girls and women know that they have opportunities to learn how to code," said Montana Code Girls alumnus Sophia Richter. 

Code Girls helps young women build skills in leadership, entrepreneurship and coding.  Governor Bullock says programs like Code Girls are becoming increasingly important.

"We know that even though women make up over 50 percent of the work force, they're less than 25 percent of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math jobs,” said Bullock.  “This is important to me not only governor, but as the father of 14 and a 12 year old daughter.  Ultimately we want to make sure that they have every opportunity to succeed."

Another Code Girl, Ailey Robinson, says the program helped nurture her love of astronomy.

"And so I'm thinking about going into astrophysics, which I know demands a lot of computer knowledge and software coding and things like that, so it's just my first step in learning how to do that," said Robinson.

Richter and Robinson recently worked on a team to create an app called Mood Toast.

Mood Toast helps people struggling with depression, "By administering a test that allows a person to see their symptoms on the spectrum of depression,” explained Richter. “Whether or not there's no symptoms to highly severe symptoms."

But Mood Toast doesn't just tell you what's wrong -- the app offers coping resources and advice.

"Just to like take a walk, or go outside for a little bit, just to help you have a better day," said Robinson.

Mood Toast can't be found on any app store, though Robinson and Richter say they hope it will someday be available.

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