CUNY Advanced Science Research Center to host computer science immersion program this summer in partnership with AOL Charitable Foundation

This summer, the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) will host a computer science immersion program run by Girls Who Code. The seven-week initiative is funded by a grant provided by AOL Charitable Foundation, which will support all 20 high school girls attending. AOL Inc. provided additional support by donating laptops for the students and teachers.

The ASRC is working with AOL Charitable Foundation and AOL Inc. to support this exciting initiative through which attendees learn mobile app development, robotics and web design, with a chance to build some of the products they design. In addition to the intensive hands-on curriculum, the participants will have the chance to hear from a variety of industry leaders sourced by the ASRC and AOL to get a broad view of the potential professions available in the field. Speakers include AOL Chief Technology Officer, William Pence, and AOL Head of Mobile Product, Drew Lesicko, among others.

“A metaphor frequently used to illustrate the underrepresentation of women in STEM careers is a “leaky pipeline,” said Gillian Small, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research and Executive Director of the ASRC. “This STEM pipeline flows from high school through college and on to a job in a STEM field. The ASRC is hosting Girls Who Code because it introduces students to the possibilities of a career in the STEM sciences at an early stage. By hosting programs like this, we hope not only to plug the leaks, but also to provide multiple points of entry to the pipeline.”

Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology, was founded in 2012 to reverse the decline of women in the technology sector. The program hosted by the ASRC is one of 60 programs, which will reach 1,200 high school girls. Girls Who Code has been very successful in introducing girls to computer science, expanding its programmatic outreach by 300 percent in the last year alone.

“Supporting women’s leadership is part of AOL’s culture and code and we are committed to being part of the solution to bridging the gender parity that exists in the STEM fields,” said Sara Link, head of Citizen AOL and President of AOL Charitable Foundation, “We are thrilled to partner with great organizations like Girls Who Code and CUNY who share that sentiment.”

In addition to the coursework, the attendees will take field trips to the offices of AOL, LinkedIn and Microsoft and receive mentorship from industry leaders. The program is free for participants, and no prior coding experience is necessary.


About the ASRC: The new CUNY Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) is a University-wide venture that elevates CUNY’s legacy of scientific research and education through initiatives in five distinctive, but increasingly interconnected disciplines: Nanoscience, Photonics, Structural Biology, Neuroscience and Environmental Science. Led by Dr. Gillian Small, Vice Chancellor for Research and the ASRC’s executive director, the center is designed to promote a unique, interdisciplinary research culture. Researchers from each of the initiatives work side by side in the ASRC’s core facilities, sharing equipment that is among the most advanced available. Funding for the ASRC from New York State is gratefully acknowledged.

About Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code Clubs, the organization is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Additional information is available at

About AOL Charitable Foundation: The AOL Charitable Foundation is focused on improving the lives of women, girls and underserved youth through fostering leadership and empowerment, improving economic opportunity, access to education and technology and cultivating creativity.

Established in 2014, the Foundation provides funding to non-profit organizations working in these areas as well as providing opportunities for AOL employees to lend their talent and skills to benefit these organizations and the individuals they serve.