Families at Irvington: ITA: Lauren Hur

Alice Shu, Humor Editor

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Lauren Hur joined ITA as a junior after being placed in CCA Honors sophomore year as a transfer student. Despite only being in ITA for one year, she’s already started a tech club at Irvington, Girls Who Code, to help address the gender gap in the tech industry. In her ITA class, Internet Engineering 1, there are only four girls in the class, compared to 19 boys. Lauren attributes this difference as a reason why girls might be wary of joining ITA. 

“[One misconception is that ITA is] only for guys, and it is true that we have a lack of women in ITA right now, but a lot of girls don’t want to go into ITA because of that. That’s something I want to clear up, that you shouldn’t think of it that way,” Lauren explains.

While most of the girls in her class fare well with their male classmates, sometimes conflicts can emerge. Lauren remembers one instance where a male classmate was upset with her because she was trying to help him with an assignment. When he couldn’t explain his own assignment to Mr.Albizo, their teacher, Lauren tried to help him explain.

“I tried to help him out but he got upset at me because I was a girl and thought that I knew “more than him” and got bothered by like, the superiority complex kind of thing. That was kind of an eye-opener for me because it made me realize the different kinds of experiences I’m bound to encounter in the Computer Science field.”

However, experiences like these only motivate Lauren to work harder to prove them wrong and to show that she’s better than they think she is. Her club, Girls Who Code, aims to “let people know that girls are good in tech industries as well, not just guys.”

“It’s basically a non-profit organization and, like the name suggests, it’s to close the gender gap in computer science because there’s a lot of representation of males in tech industries but not enough women. Thus many women don’t get dragged into the industry because of that fact. The club stands to let girls know that it is okay to strive for a tech-related major and it’s perfectly fine. We give them the chance to learn how to code and stuff like that.”

Lauren began coding in seventh grade and took online programming-oriented courses before joining ITA. Although she was entering a new field of computer sciences, she’s grateful for the class instruction and hands-on experience that it provides. This includes experimenting with the routers and switches in Mr.Albizo’s room. 

“If I want to go into a computer-related field in the future, having that hands-on experience beforehand really puts me a step above others because other high schools probably don’t have this program. Once I go into college and major in computer science or whatever, I’m already a step above that.”

The increased focus on hands-on experience also helps compensate for the lack of a computer-programming course at Irvington, ever since AP Computer Science was cancelled. Lauren planned on taking it her senior year, but was upset when it was cancelled, like many other students at Irvington who were hoping to take the class.

“Because technology is advancing at a really fast pace, I think it is important that these kinds of courses are implemented into schools. More and more kids are interested in technology because it’s more integrated in their lives now. I think having courses like that in schools will really foster that curiosity that kids might have.”

Luckily, ITA currently stands as a foundation for computer programming education at Irvington, and offers a variety of courses for people with different interests, including Internet Security, and Internet Engineering. ITA also provides Girls Who Code with current students and potential students as well. 

“[I’d recommend] anyone who has even a slight interest in technology [to join ITA]. Even if they don’t want to major it in, if they want to learn more about it, they should join ITA. 

Stereotypes and challenges aside, ITA has truly helped even the playing field for girls in tech and provided students with an outlet to explore the world of technology.

Alice Shu
Lauren sits in front of a shelf with tech objects.