Nicolle Sanchez: Breaking the Boundaries of Women in STEM

Camila Escobar, STAFF WRITER

   Computer science is the study of computers and computing, including theoretical and algorithmic foundations, hardware and software, and uses for processing information.

   Junior Nicolle Sanchez has come to admire this very definition and is bringing her own knowledge into the walls of Charter. Starting out in a web design class sophomore year, she met Mr. Toepel. Throughout the course of the year, Nicolle became so inspired by him and all of the coding he taught that she became inspired to pursue a career in computer science herself.

  She says, “Computer science is something I am considering as a major in the future, not only because of the pay, but because when I took Web Design, I completely enjoyed it. I find the language of HTML and CSS to be fascinating in how they are used to make beautiful websites with differing color designs and dynamics.” Knowing the passion that Nicolle had for the class and the subject, Mr. Toepel reached out to her with information on a new programming club that was in the makings. He says, “ the club has been approved, and it will be for young women. I don’t have the official name yet, but it will definitely be a programming/ coding club.” Official plans for the club are most likely going to be made over the summer so that next year, students can take the opportunity to learn and explore the intricate makeups of coding. 

   Immediately after hearing about it, Nicolle began to brainstorm ideas and the impact that the club would have on students, and more specifically, girls. Computer science is a field that is predominately run by men so a new club that specifically targets young girls who are interested in STEM is one of the first steps needed to change the inherent misogyny found in the field. 

  When asked how she feels about the misogyny in STEM, specifically computer science, Nicolle said, “[H]onestly the misogyny in the computer science field doesn’t surprise me. Knowing that among STEM graduates, 41.5% of men are more likely to work in STEM jobs than the 22.5% of women makes me upset because I believe that there should be more women in these fields. Men have always had the upper hand in society and women have had to fight for their roles. Although, strong women have pushed down boundaries year after year and I am sure that even though this field is outweighed percentage wise I don’t think it will be for much longer. And in my case, it just means the success of my career will be that much sweeter.” This information is what ultimately fuelled Nicolle Sanchez into being an avid participant in the creation of this new club.

   Even though the club is still under wraps, we know that it will be a programming club sponsored by Mr. Toepel for girls who are interested in programming and computer science. Nicolle has also stated that “[she] believe[s] young women who now find more interest in coding would love to have this opportunity to apply it to their college resumes, as well as help them grow in skills and techniques.” 

  Although males could benefit from this as well, this club would be more catered to women, to focus more in going against those unbalanced percentages of genders, as well as focus on helping and guiding women to explore.