A Maryland teenager wants to encourage more girls to study computer science.
Grace Brehm, 17, has had a knack for technology and computer science since childhood. He even wrote a book that was released in early July to educate more teenagers about the field.
“I think a lot of my dad was an engineer, and he always talked to us about, like, circuits and I always wondered how things worked,” Brehm said.
He took that interest with him to Notre Dame Preparatory School and joined the cybersecurity club his freshman and sophomore years, but he was disappointed by the turnout.
“Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of interest in the club at my school even though there are, like, 600 students who could join the club — only about 10 or 15 students are in the club,” Brehm said.
Just down the road from all-boys Loyola Blakefield, Brehm said the cybersecurity club is one of the largest of its kind in the area.
“It has more than 100 students involved, which is a big change from the 10 students at NDP,” 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 so many girls are not interested in computer science.
“There aren’t a lot of resources geared toward women. Like, the books usually use more stereotypical men, the colors are black and red and black and blue, and there aren’t a lot of women who model in the field, which is not good at all,” said Brehm.
So, he started to change that. The teenager 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 the same stereotypical male and female colors – so, red, blue, purple – and things to try to include everyone. I also chose to include the stories of some important women leaders,” said Brehm. “I hope that this will definitely inspire more people, and hopefully women, to join the field, and hopefully they will see me and think that they can do something and that they can make a change.”