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10-Year-Old Girl in Kenya Completes Virtual Coding Class at UWM


Elsie Maingi with Girls Who Code tote and certificate

It took months for UWM's Girls Who Code tote and certificate to reach Elsie Maingi in Nairobi, Kenya.

Credit: Lilian Wangechi

A 10-year-old girl in Kenya took coding classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee last fall and spring by connecting with the school's Girls Who Code program.

"I use the computer for school, and I wanted to understand more about how they work," says Elsie Maingi, who lives in Nairobi.

Computer classes in Kenya were geared to high school students and business people and were usually quite expensive. So in the fall of 2020, Maingi and her mother searched Google and found the free Girls Who Code program at UWM. Because of the time difference, Maingi got up at 2 a.m. for every class during that semester and the spring 2021 semester.

Holding classes online during the pandemic "was a blessing in disguise because it allowed many people who were not living near UWM to attend classes," says associate professor Christine Cheng, who launched UWM's program in 2016. "Elsie was the only one from a different country."

From University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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