On Saturday, May 11th, the John Crerar Library at the University of Chicago buzzed with energy as over 25 middle school girls from diverse backgrounds across Chicago convened for compileHER’s highly anticipated <prompt/HER> Capstone Project. This event, organized by compileHER, a campus organization dedicated to fostering gender equality in technology, marked a significant step in empowering young women to explore the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications.

The day kicked off with an engaging icebreaker session, led by Optiver, a leading trading company. Attendees immersed themselves in a game of ducks trading, not just having fun but also gaining insights into risk-taking—a vital skill in both trading and life. This laid the foundation for a day filled with learning, collaboration, and empowerment.

Following a brief snack break, the participants delved into the heart of the event at the CSIL Labs, where they embarked on a journey to demystify AI and explore the workings of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. Through interactive sessions and hands-on activities, the girls gained a deeper understanding of AI’s fundamentals, including its applications in everyday life.

Stella Chen, president of compileHER, emphasized the organization’s commitment to empowering young women in technology. “At compileHER, we believe in providing girls with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the digital age,” said Chen. “Events like the <prompt/HER> Capstone Project are essential in bridging the gender gap in STEM fields and fostering a more inclusive tech community.”

The curriculum for the capstone event was meticulously crafted to provide a comprehensive overview of AI and its implications. The sessions covered topics ranging from the basics of AI and machine learning to a deep dive into generative AI, exemplified by models like ChatGPT and DALL-E. Through live demonstrations and interactive discussions, the girls explored the capabilities and ethical considerations surrounding these cutting-edge technologies.

One of the highlights of the event was the hands-on creation of digital storybooks using generative AI. In collaborative groups, the participants used ChatGPT and DALL-E to craft imaginative narratives, showcasing the creative potential of AI-driven content generation. The resulting storybooks were a testament to the girls’ creativity and newfound understanding of AI’s role in storytelling.

The success of the <prompt/HER> Capstone Project underscores compileHER’s broader mission of empowering young women in tech. Through initiatives like annual hackathons, workshops, and field trips, compileHER aims to inspire the next generation of female leaders in technology. With each event, the organization seeks to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create a more inclusive tech ecosystem.

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