The first daughter and senior White House adviser visited Middleburg Community Charter School in Middleburg, Virginia, Wednesday, where she spoke at an assembly and participated in Minecraft coding with students. She is expected to participate in additional coding events at schools in the coming weeks, ramping up her solo public appearances.
"I'm hoping I can be as cool as you coders," Trump told a group of fifth graders at the school in the pastoral town about 50 miles outside Washington.
Seated alongside Microsoft president Brad Smith and nonprofit Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi in a classroom decorated with paper plate dreamcatchers and a Microsoft Surface at every seat, Trump encouraged the students to develop their coding skills, especially the young women.
"Right now, girls only make up 22% of the computer science field, but we're going to change that, right, ladies?" she said.
Trump participated in a coding activity on a tablet alongside the students, asking a lot of questions.
"I have a little secret. My daughter and I have been starting to code together. She has been practicing more than me, and she reminds me of this every time we code together. But while she was in school today, I was here practicing with you. So tonight, I'm going to go home and I'm going to have some skills. I don't know, I may give her a little run," Trump joked at the assembly.
Trump has spearheaded
an administration effort to make computer science and STEM education a priority. On Monday, her father, President Donald Trump, signed a presidential memorandum directing the Education Department to invest a minimum of $200 million in funding each year to expand STEM and computer science education in schools. At an event in Detroit on Tuesday, tech leaders in the private sector announced an accompanying pledge of over $300 million for computer science programs.
She worked on the initiative alongside the Education and Labor Departments, business leaders, educators, nonprofits and governors, with initial conversations starting during the presidential transition.
This week, she spoke with more than 20 governors and superintendents to brief them on how to take advantage of the new grant funding, and she is expected to continue promoting STEM opportunities moving forward as part of her focus on workforce development.
At the end of the assembly, Trump stopped to give hugs and pose for a group photo with the students.
"Say White House!" she said.