A Maryland teenager wants to inspire more girls to study computer science.
Grace Brehm, 17, has had a knack for technology and computer science from a young age. She even wrote a book that was released in early July to educate more teens about the field.
“I think it was just mostly my dad being an engineer, and he was always talking to us about, like, circuits and I was always wondering how things work,” Brehm said.
She took that interest with her to Notre Dame Preparatory School and joined the cybersecurity club in her freshman and sophomore years, but she was disappointed in the turnout.
“Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of interest in the club at my school even though there are, like, 600 students that can join the club — only about 10 or 15 students are actually in the club,” Brehm said.
Just down the road at the all-boys Loyola Blakefield, Brehm said the cybersecurity club is one of the biggest of its kind in the area.
“It has more than 100 students involved, which was really a big change from NDP’s only 10 students,” Brehm said.
So, in junior year, Brehm joined Loyola’s club and became the only girl on the team. She made it her mission to find out why more girls weren’t interested in computer science.
“There just aren’t a lot of resources that are aimed towards women. Like, textbooks usually use more stereotypical males, colors are black and red and black and blue, and there are just not a lot of female role models in the field, which is really unfortunate,” Brehm said.
So, she set out to change that. The teen wrote and published the book “An Introduction to Computer Science for Young People,” which shares some basics about the field.
“On the cover of the book, I chose colors that are both stereotypically male and female — so, red, blue, purple — and things to try to get everyone involved. I also chose to include the stories of some really important female leaders,” Brehm said. “I hope it is definitely going to inspire a lot of people, and hopefully girls, to join the field, and hopefully, they will see me and think that they can do something and that they can make a change.”
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