Middle school girls in grades sixth through eighth are now able to learn core computer science skills through various projects.

All thanks to Bama Bits and Bytes, an instructional event held Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

No prior knowledge of computer science is required and it only costs $20 dollars to participate in the program.

Bama Bits and Bytes program leader Catherine Kosek says she wants to provide young girls with some of the skills she was not afforded while growing up.

“I was looking for more ways to get involved with young women in the community with computer science because I find that in my computer science class, there are not a lot of women there,” Kosek said. “I had a hard time in high school of ways to get involved, so I really wanted to give those opportunities to other girls.”

Each session will introduce a different topic related to computer science and programming.

Program mentors encourage girls to learn more about the STEM field before entering the workforce.

“Expect that its a lot of hard work. Make sure that you are doing your research and that you are getting involved in as many opportunities as you can because it really makes a difference when you start your STEM career,” Tanita Harris, a program mentor, said.

All projects will be completed using scratch, a block-based visual programming language.

New participants will learn and use fundamental skills, while the more experienced programmers can build on their existing knowledge.

The program also offers scholarships for those facing financial circumstances.

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