Girls Who Code: Challenging Stereotypes

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Girls Who Code: Challenging Stereotypes

Basia Fellner-Dublin ’20

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This summer I had the opportunity to take part in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Adobe, learning computer science with nineteen other girls at one of Adobe’s offices in Union Square. These seven short weeks consisted of learning python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C, Arduino, and robotics with Behance Software Engineer, Rosa McGee. Girls Who Code is an organization that strives to close the gender gap in the technology industry. They offer classes and programs for young girls to explore their interests in tech and build a strong female support system and community. The Summer Immersion Program was created for female students entering their junior and senior years of high school to study computer science, join a sisterhood and learn about the many different careers in tech.

When I took my first coding course at Ramaz last year, I fell in love with it and wanted to continue pursuing this new interest. I quickly found Girls Who Code online and knew right away that this was my chance to expand on my basic understanding of computer science. My goal for this summer was to leave the Summer Immersion Program filled with knowledge and ready to take the next steps down the tech path. Little did I know this program would offer so much more than that. Walking into the program on the first day was a bit intimidating. None of the girls knew each other, and some completely lacked previous knowledge in computer science. After introducing ourselves and getting to know one another, we became closer. We built a support system and a meaningful sisterhood of girls who love to code. I didn’t expect to gain this community when I first applied to Girls Who Code, but I am glad I did. To have the support of other women is extremely important in the predominantly male dominated tech world. In addition to meeting these amazing girls, I was able to meet Adobe employees and network with others working as computer scientists. At the Summer Immersion Program, it was important to learn about the different careers in tech and network with others in order to have access to future internships and jobs. In order to learn about the many pos- sible careers, we went on trips to meet the tech teams at Glossier, Control Labs, and Facebook/Instagram. I had the opportunity to shadow designers, software engineers and product managers as they went about their daily jobs. I was surprised by how much I was able to contribute to problem solving in code during these trips; it showed how much I learned this summer. During the last two weeks of the program, we were split up into groups to produce a final project. My group built a website that spelled out the benefits and risks of different diets. My team and I wanted to help our users lead a healthy lifestyle, so we achieved our goal by analyzing statistics of many unhealthy American eating habits. Eating healthy has always been a big part of my life, and I wanted to share my knowledge with others. In less than two weeks, my teammates and I completed a full website filled with different features and information.

At Girls Who Code, I learned that I can ex- plore and create anything with computer code. Com- puter science isn’t only for my college education and future career; it can also be used as a hobby to create anything from websites to robots. I hope to continue using computer science no matter where life takes me and keep building this amazing community of females in tech. I encourage any female Ramaz students enter- ing their junior or senior year next summer to take part in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. The knowledge, experience and friendships I gained in this program are extremely meaningful. I hope to see you become Girls Who Code alumni soon!

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