CCA Girls Who Code Concludes Year-Long ‘Girls in STEM’ Online Education Programs


Canyon Crest Academy’s Girls Who Code Club and affiliated all-female Ravenettes Robotics Team wrapped up a productive year with several remote learning programs to provide STEM education to students in the San Dieguito School District during the pandemic. Led by senior graduates Samantha Prestrelski (chair) and Alexis Wu (vice-chair), the CCA Girls Who Code team began bringing its educational outreach programs online when the school closed in March 2020. effort has evolved into a year-long “Girls in STEM” program with weekly online classes in Java programming and embedded systems open to all girls in the district during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Java programming program was led by Alexis Wu and Sarah Golts, both seniors at CCA. The three semester-long online sessions began in March 2020 and served more than 100 students from 15 San Diego County schools. Students learned programming concepts through hands-on coding exercises with games, cryptography, and other computer applications.

The Embedded Systems workshops were designed and taught by club mentor Stefan Prestrelski, a graduate of Torrey Pines High School and a student at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, and co-led by Sarah Luo, CCA junior and team captain. Ravenettes robotics team. These bi-weekly workshops are designed for middle and high school students to learn programming, mechanical, and electrical concepts through circuit construction and project-based embedded systems applications.

“We decided to create the Girls in STEM online program to bridge the learning gap during school closures and provide girls with access to the skills needed to pursue careers in tech,” said Samantha Prestrelski, club president and director of the Girls in STEM program. “We are grateful to our sponsors, BrainCorp and Qualcomm, for allowing us to create and deliver free computer education programs during the pandemic to any girl in our community who wishes to participate.”

“As a team advisor since the club’s inception at CCA, I have had the privilege of witnessing its growth, which is primarily due to the dedication of the club’s past and current leaders,” said Tony Mauro, advisor to the Girls Who Code club and Ravenettes Robotics Team. “It’s truly inspiring to see how innovative management has been in creating an engaging program, even in the face of restrictions in place over the past year. Although I will miss the leadership of Samantha and Alexis , I look forward to working with Sarah to continue the established legacy.

The Girls in STEM program will offer a series of beginner and advanced embedded systems workshops this summer for new and continuing students. The program will start at the end of June and end in August. Topics include electronics theory, DC motors, sensors, circuits, and other topics relevant to electrical control systems. If you or your student are interested in participating, or would like information regarding the robotics club or team, please visit the CCA Girls Who Code website at www.ccagirlswhocode.weebly.com. For more information on the program, contact Sarah Luo (President-Elect) or Samantha Prestrelski (Incoming Team Coach) at ccagirlswhocode@gmail.com.


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