3 Tech Organizations that are Paving the Way for Girls in STEM

There has always been a stigma against girls and women entering STEM fields, but organizations like Kode with Klossy, #BUILTBYGIRLS and Girls Who Code are working to change this mindset and help women and girls claim their space in the tech world. In less than a year, my life has changed in more ways than I ever could have imagined. This is thanks to organizations like Kode with Klossy that are dedicated to providing girls with opportunities to learn how to code and gain exposure to the world of STEM.

Growing up, I never imagined myself entering the field of computer science simply due to the fact that I had never been given the chance to learn about it. Now, thanks to the two-week coding camp by Kode with Klossy that I attended last summer, I have fallen in love with computer science, and I’m continually amazed by the endless possibilities that come with the power of code. Since last July’s camp, I’ve become fully immersed in a world that I never knew existed, and I could not be happier. I have met the most empowering and inspiring women through the tech community, and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish.

Kode with Klossy

In 2015, supermodel Karlie Kloss launched a program called #KodewithKarlie in conjunction with the Flatiron School in New York City. Since then, it has become a summer camp that is open to girls ages 13-18. Starting out in just three cities and serving over 80 scholars in 2016, Kode with Klossy took place in 25 cities and gave out scholarships to over 1,000 girls in 2018.

Camp is free for all scholars, and applications for camp this summer are open until March 30. It’s two weeks of custom Kode with Klossy curriculum, and the environment is very positive and inspiring. I arrived with little to no coding experience and left with knowledge in HTML, CSS and Ruby in just two weeks.

This year, girls have the choice between a Web Applications curriculum (JavaScript, HTML, and CSS) and a Mobile Applications Development curriculum (Swift). This is a new addition. In the past, girls started at Level One and progressed to higher levels every summer.

At the end of the camp, scholars create final projects (here’s mine from last summer) and then present them at Demo Day with their fellow scholars. This special day allows the girls to showcase their hard work and new skills, but it can also pique interest in computer science for family members in attendance. Many scholars have inspired and encouraged their siblings to get into the world of tech through Demo Days.

Personally, I don’t know who I would be without Kode with Klossy. It was such a transformative experience for me because it was the first time that I could really envision myself in the world of technology. During camp, I emailed my advisor requesting to change my major to computer science because I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. Kode with Klossy refers to coding as a superpower, and it could not be a more accurate description. Through the power of code, the possibilities for social, environmental and global change are truly endless. 

 

 

#BUILTBYGIRLS

#BUILTBYGIRLS offers many programs to help jumpstart young women’s careers, no matter what they’re pursuing. All of their programs are tied to tech in some way, but they are focused on showing girls that the possibilities for careers within tech are endless. 

One of their most notable programs is their advisor program, WAVE. They match high school and college students with an advisor – someone who works in anything from product management, engineering, data analytics or media and content creation for their company. Advisees commit to the program for a full year, and they are matched with a new advisor every three months. I was recently matched with my first advisor and have already learned so much about a sub-field of engineering that I never even knew existed.

Not only that, but #BBG has introduced me to yet another community of like-minded women who are seeking to make a difference in the world through technology. Whether it’s encouragement or a simple question about which AP Computer Science course to take, this community of girls is incredibly supportive and uplifting.

Earlier this month, #BBG launched a campaign titled [This is] a World #BUILTBYGIRLS, where they reimagined what the world would be like if women were given equal opportunities as men from the very beginning. In their video series, they address the lack of diversity and representation and tackle pressing issues such as the wage gap.

Girls Who Code

An initiative to get young girls to learn how to code, Girls Who Code is a movement that started only six years ago. Since its creation, nearly 90,000 girls have learned how to code and been given exposure to the world of computer science.

Girls Who Code clubs are run in hundreds of schools across the county to teach girls about coding in low-pressure and fun environments. Students attend free meetings and online webinars when possible and then work to create projects that will positively impact their communities. Programs like this show young girls that they are capable of initiating change in their own communities through projects that they create from the ground up.

Another program Girls Who Code offers is a summer immersion program that takes place over seven weeks and gives high school girls experience and exposure to the jobs that the tech world has to offer.

The Future of Tech

We are in the midst of a movement to reach equality when it comes to gender, race, sexuality and much more. Lack of equality in the workplace – especially in STEM – has been present for years, but the fight to correct has remained strong and is gaining even more momentum as people realize just how wrong things are. Women should not be afraid to claim their well-deserved spaces in their chosen fields just because of social norms that have been perpetuated for decades. All of us are capable of anything that we set our minds to through hard work and persistence, and it’s the mission of the three aforementioned organizations to relay this message to young girls all over the country.

I’m proud to say that I’m a part of Kode with Klossy and #BUILTBYGIRLS, and I’m still in awe of how life-changing attending Kode with Klossy was last summer. My love for computer science and all things tech has only grown since camp, and I can’t wait to see what the next generation of women in STEM looks like thanks to organizations like these.