Clarks Summit student contacts founder of Girls Who Code and helps club, learns lesson on ‘leaning in’


For Abington Journal



At The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s 148th Annual Dinner on June 2, from left, Melissa Schneider, senior, Dunmore; Julia Liska, junior, Delaware Valley; Alana Simrell, freshman, Scranton Prep; Victoria Barbosa, freshman, Scranton Prep; Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code; Jackie Cordaro, junior, Abington Heights; Isabel Hou, president of Scranton Girls Who Code, an eighth grade homeschool student, and Marisa Barilka, Scranton Girls Who Code lead instructor.


Submitted photo

SCRANTON — “Leaning in” is a phrase Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, used to encourage women to pursue their ambitions and change the conversation from what they can’t do to what they can.

Last week, Isabel Hou, 13, of Clarks Summit, reached out to the founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was learning a powerful lesson on “leaning in.” When the girls in her local Scranton Girls Who Code club learned Saujani was coming to speak at The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s 148th Annual Dinner on Thursday, June 2, they inquired about tickets and were told the event was sold out.

So the rising ninth grader, who is also the president of Scranton Girls Who Code, took matters into her own hands and reached out to Saujani personally. She received a reply from Saujani saying she looked forward to meeting the group.

Although they did not participate in the dinner, the girls were able to hear Saujani’s presentation.

“It was surreal in a way to finally meet her (Saujani),” Hou told the Abington Journal in an email. “Her story was so inspirational and compelling. At one point she even mentioned my name in her talk. I am beyond thrilled and I know the girls in the club were equally excited. We all had a very memorable experience.”

The local Girls Who Code club has more than 20 member girls who come from schools as far as Delaware Valley and meet weekly at The University of Scranton to code.

The club’s mission is “Working together to inspire, educate, and equip girls from Northeastern Pennsylvania with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.”

The club is taught by lead instructor, Marisa Barilka, Abington Heights Middle School computer science, engineering, and math teacher, and Steve Rhule, Delaware Valley High School computer science, physics, and math teacher. It is hosted by The University of Scranton with Benjamin Bishop as advisor. The parent sponsor is Bill Miller.

At The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s 148th Annual Dinner on June 2, from left, Melissa Schneider, senior, Dunmore; Julia Liska, junior, Delaware Valley; Alana Simrell, freshman, Scranton Prep; Victoria Barbosa, freshman, Scranton Prep; Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code; Jackie Cordaro, junior, Abington Heights; Isabel Hou, president of Scranton Girls Who Code, an eighth grade homeschool student, and Marisa Barilka, Scranton Girls Who Code lead instructor.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_ABJCode.jpgAt The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s 148th Annual Dinner on June 2, from left, Melissa Schneider, senior, Dunmore; Julia Liska, junior, Delaware Valley; Alana Simrell, freshman, Scranton Prep; Victoria Barbosa, freshman, Scranton Prep; Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code; Jackie Cordaro, junior, Abington Heights; Isabel Hou, president of Scranton Girls Who Code, an eighth grade homeschool student, and Marisa Barilka, Scranton Girls Who Code lead instructor. Submitted photo

For Abington Journal

Information provided by Scranton Girls Who Code.

Information provided by Scranton Girls Who Code.

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