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Several young women got an introduction to artificial intelligence through the dcConnectGirls Tech Club meeting this month.

Over two Saturday workshop sessions, the teens learned new concepts and detailed information based on A.I. or artificial intelligence. Participants had the opportunity to develop new skills as they were introduced to web developments, such as Amazon Developer and Amazon Resource Name, as they programed an Alexa device, Amazon’s voice-enabled A.I. system for the home. The teens learned how to use the AWS Lambda console to run their programs.  

“A.I. is something kids can get excited about because they use it in their daily life,” said Maria Izzi, a National Center for Women and Information Technology facilitator and student at Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, who led the workshop. “A.I is one of the most important fields where we need the most people…because there are so many different things you can do with it.”

Izzi led the young women through basic programming principles to create societal impact projects on topics such as gender inequality and social change. They programmed their Alexa to answer questions and offer facts on each issue.

“I started to have fun coding and doing things” on the computer, said DeAirra, 13, who originally attended to meet some new friends. “In seventh grade I did coding in science and I remembered how much fun I had.”

During the second Saturday session, the participants worked with Scratch, a more visual programming tool, to develop a website to celebrate a birthday. They played a game that defined constant, variables, loops, and other programming terms.

“If this part is interesting, I’m sure the monthly one will be interesting, too,” said Blessin, 14, who enjoyed programming Alexa and her website. “It challenges your mind.”

This fall, the dcConnect Tech Club will begin a STEM program that will run throughout the school year. Participants will learn about various aspects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through workshops, field trips, and more. For more information or to register your teen ages 11 to 16, call the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Office of Resident Services at (202) 535-1517 or email ORSPrograms@dchousing.org.

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Last modified: 9/25/2019 12:29:26 PM