Tucson, Arizona, June 25, 2020 — Organizations are having to amend their practices to accommodate the pandemic. Taking Up Space (TUS), an outreach program that serves indigenous girls, is also changing their plan.

For the past three years, TUS has been flying girls from the Pascua Yaqui tribe from Arizona to Alabama to learn how to become astronauts at Space Camp. But, unfortunately, like many other summer trips, this year’s STEM excursion has been postponed due to COVID-19.

While TUS was deciding how to best proceed with Native American community outreach, high school student Elisabeth Holm was creating a program of her own. Elisabeth has over seven years of programming experience and is in the process of starting the nonprofit organization: Sisterhood of Native American Coders (SONAC). She founded the Python coding club for her school in 2019, and is wishing to bring her successful model to young indigenous girls.

Elisabeth contacted TUS with her idea and a collaboration was sparked. TUS and SONAC are providing an online introduction to coding for 9 – 12 year old Native American girls. The program creates projects, hosts guest speakers, and concludes with participation in coding events. The program will be engaging, challenging, and, most importantly, lots of fun.

Successful completion makes students eligible for a full scholarship (valued at $2,000) to Robotics Camp at Space Camp, in the summer of 2021, at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Al.

Interested? It’s free! Online gatherings are planned to begin July 2020. No prior technical experience needed.

WHO: SONAC: Sisterhood of Native American Coders
WHAT: Talking to Computers
WHEN: July 20, 2020
WHERE: Online through weekly zoom meetings

About Taking Up Space:
The Taking Up Space mission is to expand the opportunities and future educational and career goals for Native American girls by immersing them in the horizon-broadening Space Camp experience, and to then have the chance to expand and become mentors for others like themselves through the exposure of leadership and team-building activities.

The goal is to create knowledge about STEM, to cultivate critical thinking skills, and to transform the potential of girls’ lives by maintaining an interest in STEM throughout the critical middle school years.

About SONAC:
Sisterhood of Native American Coders is a nonprofit that creates access and exposure to the field of computer science to address the disparities in opportunities to learn among underrepresented Native American girls.

The mission of SONAC is to inspire the next generation of young female innovators to pursue careers in STEM by engaging them at an early age (9-12 yrs.) when interest levels can falter so to create and foster a lifetime passion for STEM

The goals of SONAC are to: close the gender gap of women in STEM careers, provide engaging STEM education and activities for Native American girls, and form a community of girls – led by a peer – who can support each other throughout their academic, internship, and occupational endeavors.