Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Friday, October 23, 2020
BPL Partners With Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School to Host Girls Coding Camp
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams
Director of Public Relations
Birmingham Public Library
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 572-1359

Birmingham, Ala. - The Birmingham Public Library will host a girls coding camp in partnership with Holy Family Cristo Rey thanks to a grant funded by NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology).

Code 205: Intro to Game Design will be led by a team consisting of Katelyn Miller, Caitlin Jackson, and Mohsine Taarji. Caitlin Jackson, a BPL teen librarian, has worked closely with Taarji on past projects, such as Teen Engineers BHM, which included STEM education such as coding, soldering, and 3D printing. Taarji has worked with the library for about five years as an UAB Engineering student mentor and is currently working on his PhD.

The Birmingham Public Library hopes that Code 205 will serve as a novel program that inspires future sessions in the spring and beyond. For details, click here or read below:

When discussing the switch from in-person to online learning, Taarji said he feels online teaching can be just as good as in person because technology allows students do some of the same things they can in the classroom, such as interacting with fellow students and teacher/mentors. However, mentors have to work harder to keep programs interesting due to limitations in what they can do, Taarji said.

During the summer, Taarji worked hard to adapt the library’s programs so that students could still attend online and remain safe. He focused on finding new ways to engage with students live and emulate the in-person experience as much as possible. Miss Katelyn Miller is a high school student with an interest in computer science and serves as the primary mentor for the Code 205 program. Katelyn has co-led programs before, and sees “teaching as the best way to reevaluate your passion of the subject.”

“I learned so much from the kids in the camp about different perspectives,” Katelyn said. “That’s why I applied to the aspirations award because it was an opportunity to further myself and the standard for those who need a role model.”

Katelyn originally applied for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing last year. The award is for 9th through 12th graders who show significant interest in computing. Multiple awards are available depending on honors won, including certificates and other various prizes, Participants selected can also receive engraved awards, scholarship and internship opportunities, and have the opportunity to apply to host their own programs as well.

Applications are now open for the current year and the deadline is November 5, 2020. For further information on eligibility and how to apply, go to

Code 205: Intro to Game Design will begin on Monday, October 26, and conclude on December 4.

Holy Family Cristo Rey students and parents can register for the program directly with NCWIT at
Parents are encouraged to include their email contact as the program waivers will be emailed due to the virtual nature of the camp. All participants must have a waiver turned in by October 26 and will not be able to continue the program without it.

Students will build electric circuits using online software, as well as design games. While game design does play a role in the program, the core concept is communication. Focusing on this concept is vital for a generation and world that has access to rapid data and to institutions, like libraries, which store and provide access to all kinds of information.

Participants will build communication device circuits, tell stories through games and learn how to "speak" to computers through coding. Each project will revolve on one way to receive and interpret information and include projects such as Morse code, developing games, and traffic signals.

For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library experience to our community for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for over 130 years—is one of the largest library systems in
the Southeast.
Page Last Modified: 6/15/2021 9:51 AM