14 Mar 2022

Year 12 CAS – Code For Life

CAS stands for Creativity, Action, and Service, and it is one of three essential elements that every student must complete to receive the IB Diploma. While not formally assessed, CAS provides opportunities for students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through hands-on learning. 

One of the components of CAS is a ‘CAS Project’, a collaborative series of student-initiated CAS experiences over several months engaging students in one or more CAS strands (creativity, activity, and service). Following the five CAS stages of Investigation, Preparation, Demonstration, Action, and Reflection, students can explore their passions whilst challenging themselves to initiate purposeful action around defined goals. The following months will bring a series of interviews where the STC Media Team interviews different students around school to highlight their CAS projects and initiatives. 

This week, Code For Life, which consists of Vivian Jia, Lavender Lo, Jade Scrouther, Constance Yung, Abigail Ewal, and Yuka Yamane, speaks to the STC Media Team about their CAS project. They took over Code for Life as many have experienced coding in the GCSE or the IB diploma course and want to share their knowledge with younger girls who have yet to experience computer science. 

Can you introduce Code For Life? What is the purpose of your CAS project?

Code for Life aims at computer science as a potential subject for girls, specifically in our school. Given that computer science classes in STC are mainly filled by boys, Code for Life wants to encourage girls – who may have been intimidated by the gender disparity – to pursue computer science in a more inclusive environment. We have planned workshops to develop a passion for coding and perhaps pursue it as a career in the future. Our event was successful last year, so we hope to continue by holding semi-frequent workshops that encourage more discussion on coding among all STC students. 

What impact/outcome do you hope Code For Life will have on the school community?

We hope to inspire more girls to start coding and chase their passions for computer science. We also want to give girls the opportunity to participate in coding and computer science events without feeling excluded.

Are there any events planned to take place?

This school year, we have already held a successful workshop on the 8th of December 2021. We initially planned another event in term two and one more in term three, but unfortunately, we will see whether the pandemic will improve to see whether or not those can occur. 

Any changes due to COVID-19? How has Code For Life adapted?

We have decided to postpone term two’s workshop. However, we are still communicating regularly between ourselves and our supervisor Mr Baumgarten through group chats and emails. We can assure you that we will organise all of our workshops orderly and be well-prepared for our events in term three.

What do you think the most significant barrier is changing the gender mix in computer science in the next few years? 

The most significant barrier is the existing gender stereotypes around computer science. It is hard for girls to become more confident in coding when it goes against the expected social belief that girls aren’t as good as boys in this area. As computer science is becoming a leading industry throughout the world, it’s bringing attention to the need of every gender to participate in the field. Hopefully, we can achieve gender equality in the CS field soon.

What do you think are typical misassumptions about computer science that prevents females from exploring it as a career path? What can we do instead to create more welcoming communities for girls to code?

The perception that boys are more likely to choose this subject than girls leads to a feeling of exclusion; no one wants to be the odd one out. We encourage girls to participate in topics that interest them – not just computer science, even though it is our main focus. Overall, we want to build a more accepting and equal community that supports independent interests that may deviate outside the social norms for a particular gender. 

Never be afraid to pursue your interests. Sometimes, the only extra boost people need is seeing how others aren’t hesitant about participating in a new activity they’d like to try. So bring your friends to our C4L events when we hold them!

Written by: Yi Shuang Tiang