fEmpower CS is a web-based introductory computer science program for elementary school girls that is simple, interactive, and easily scalable to communities with limited resources to teach CS in schools. Founded by Dhwani Sreenivas, the curriculum was developed with the goal to give back to her community in a way that gave more opportunities to women in STEM. In classes taught by our team of high school students, girls will be guided through the activity-based curriculum with no prior coding experience required. Over the span of our six-day program, students will the learn basic fundamentals of coding, and will be encouraged to apply their creativity and problem solving skills to their own projects with the guidance of our teachers. Our goals with fEmpower are to offer opportunities and resources to motivate girls to pursue STEM and empower them as they face a growing world of technology, and also to help combat the gender inequality in it.
While we use the block-coding platform Scratch as the primary foundation for our curriculum, we also use additional activities with Java, so students are exposed to tools used in the real world. Students can repeat the program, as activities keep changing. We hope to encourage young girls to continue exploring, discovering, and learning within the world of computer science.
Looking forward to meeting you on the journey!
Meet The Team
Hi everyone! I'm Dhwani, a senior at Winchester High School. I was introduced to computer science in middle school, and was immediately hooked. My own experiences with Technovation and my interest in entrepreneurship inspired me to start this project to give back to our community. I love working with young, curious kids, and am so excited to meet you all! My other interests include dance, UI design, and cooking :)
Hello! I'm Elysia, a senior at Winchester High School. There's so much to learn within computer science, and I know firsthand getting into and sticking with it can be tough—so I hope to teach ideas in a fun, casual, but useful way. It's a thrill to help foster a level playing field for young girls to do what they're interested in! My favorite CS experience has been coding apps for Technovation. Besides the world of STEM, I love music and playing violin.
Hi! I'm Juliet, a senior at Winchester High School. Having the opportunity to open the eyes of bright females to the world of computer science is an absolute delight and honor. I've worked with children for many years -- teaching math at the local Chinese school and instructing young gymnasts -- and have learned Java and Python. I love chocolate, dance, and the piano, and I'm so excited to see you all learn!
"Rave reviews from [student]! Thank you to all involved."
- Pilot session parent
"My daughter took the class at VO and loved it. Thank you for your work! "
- Pilot session parent
"My daughter was hesitant at first about taking the class. She has had a few Scratch intro classes in the past and since they were only one class they were all very basic. Even after the first class with fEmpower she wasn’t sure she wanted to continue . . . But, by the second class and certainly by the end, my daughter loved it. She would continue working on her program long after the class ended and was very proud of it. Thank you so much for opening her eyes to how fun programming can be."
- Fall Session 2 parent
"I think its a great program because I learned a lot!"
"The teachers were so nice! Thank you!"
- July session students
"I liked the shop activity where we used variables because you could choose whatever you wanted and I was able to use variables and several other blocks."
- July session student
"[Student] loved the classes. Please let us know if you plan on having more classes even if they are paid. We would definitely enroll for more lessons. Great initiative."
- August session parent
"My favorite activity was Kahoot, because we would review things we learned in class and if we got it wrong the teachers would explain to us."
- July session student
"The class was Awesome!"
- August session student
During our pilot classes, we had students complete surveys to evaluate their engagement, progress, and learning. On a scale of 1-5, they rated their comfort level in understanding target concepts, before and after the program. By the end of the session, their responses showed significant improvement.
Although just starting out, based on feedback and success, we already saw the potential impact that fEmpower has with helping to bring young girls into computer science and offering a positive learning experience. This only inspires us to strive to improve fEmpower, so that students may find our future offerings even more useful.
We founded fEmpower to offer scalable, in-person classes to girls in local elementary schools during the school year and summer. Our first in-person session in February/March was a great success, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted our original plans. However, it has allowed us to expand our curriculum online and open registration for a new launch of virtual program sessions, with passionate hopes of continuing to work with young girls.
We were ecstatic when our two summer sessions both filled almost immediately. View some results of our pre- and post-program summer surveys below! Since then, we've run successful classes in Fall 2020 in the midst of hybrid and remote learning. Be on the lookout for future, brand-new program offerings and curricula.
Thank you for checking out fEmpower CS!