News & Press
This week, Girls Who Code announced admissions decisions for our 2014 Summer Immersion Program. With so many amazing applications and only 20 spots per program, we regret that we could not accept every eligible girl who applied. Here’s a look at how we made our decisions:
Building the Movement: Recruiting
Starting in January, we hit the ground running for 2 months of intensive recruiting. We visited schools and community organizations to find girls who were passionate about technology and told them about Girls Who Code.
In the first week of February, our application went live on our website. A 3-4 hour time commitment, we asked applicants to answer a mix of quantitative questions and short essays, plus provide us with references from 2 adults (including one teacher). To help support applicants through the process, we held workshops, organized conference calls, and shared tips for success.
After the application closed in the first week of March, the Girls Who Code team got to work eagerly poring over applications. We reviewed applications on a name-blind basis, meaning every application was assigned a number. Once numbers were assigned, we looked at eligibility. 10th or 11th grade girl? Check. Passion for tech? Check. Sufficient quantitative skills to succeed in our program? Check. In the early stages of selection, we identified girls who met this criteria and advanced them on.
Once everyone in the applicant pool proved eligible, we took a deep dive into the essays and got to learn all about the future technologists, CEOs, and game-changers of tomorrow. Believe us, they are inspiring! Every application is read several times and scored using a rubric to ensure consistency. Our readers are Girls Who Code staff, educators, technologists, non-profit experts, and other community leaders on both coasts who volunteer their time to help us review applications.
When the top scoring girls were identified, we moved on to final selection. During this round, Girls Who Code advisors and board members, student-provided references, leaders at Girls Who Code hosting partners, and Summer Immersion Program alumnae weigh in to help us select the top 20.
This part is bittersweet. As excited as we are to send acceptance letters welcoming the 2014 Class of Girls Who Code, we unfortunately have to reject many eligible applicants who could thrive in computer science. We never want to turn a single girl away who has shown the dedication to step up and join our movement, and we are working hard to find new corporate partners for next year so that we can expand the Summer Immersion Program and accept more students.
To bring 6th-12th grade girls computer science education and tech industry exposure, we are launching Girls Who Code Clubs nationwide. Click here if you’re interested in starting a Girls Who Code Club!
Girls Who Code is thrilled to be partnering with Gild, which brings meritocracy to tech hiring through innovative recruiting technologies!
Here’s how it works: Gild will lend its powerful data science and proprietary algorithms to help identify top female software developers to serve as mentors and instructors for our coding courses. In turn, Girls who Code will be able to recruit the best of the best as possible instructors as we dramatically scale our programming nationwide in 2014 and beyond.
“Gild was founded with the vision to bring meritocracy to hiring,” said Sheeroy Desai, Co-Founder and CEO of Gild. “Our partnership with Girls Who Code aligns perfectly with our goal to help companies identify candidates based on their true skills. As Girls Who Code expands, we want to do whatever we can to help them prepare more women to enter the field of computer science, and so we’re putting our own data science and other resources at Girls Who Code’s disposal.”
Rockstar women in tech, watch out… Girls Who Code + Gild are looking for you!
Our friends at CA Technologies are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Mainframe by donating up to $50,000 to AWESOME organizations focused on STEM education. And guess what? Girls Who Code is one of them!
To support the campaign, all you have to do is click here, select Girls Who Code, and CA technologies will donate $1 to empower young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Once you’re done, share the link with a friend: http://www.ca.com/us/lpg/mainframe/mainframe-50/giving.aspx
You can vote once a day until March 13, so vote early and vote often. With your help we can raise $50,000 to close the gender gap in tech!
Intel’s HTML5 elves are donating $1 to Girls Who Code for every #GiftOfCode retweet this holiday season!
Click here to give the #GiftOfCode: html5hub.com/giftofcode/
Be Our Guest: The city’s schools system needs to prioritize Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education
Our students need to be prepared to compete for the 123 million STEM field jobs expected to be in demand by the year 2020.
By Marissa Shorenstein AND Reshma Saujani / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
More often than not, the jobs of today and tomorrow require advanced knowledge in science and technology. In fact, by 2020, the U.S. economy will demand 123 million high-skilled workers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math — a set of skills commonly called STEM.
Last summer, tucked in a conference room at G.E. headquarters, half a dozen robots burst into a mechanical but unmistakable rendition of the Harlem Shake, one of the hottest songs of the year. The machines were joined in the viral dance routine by their precocious programmers: 16- and 17-year-old girls from the Detroit area, all participating in Girls Who Code’s summer immersion program.
“Girls Who Code is a movement—we are changing the face of computer science.” —Joelle, 16
It has been a year of exciting programming growth for Girls Who Code. From a single program in New York City in 2012, we expanded to offer eight Summer Immersion Programs in five cities in 2013, and brought on nine generous corporate and foundation partners, including Twitter, Intel, Goldman Sachs, eBay, IAC, AT&T, GE, Cornell Tech, and the Knight Foundation, to fuel programmatic success. In collaboration with these partners we equipped 152 middle and high school girls with eight weeks of intensive classroom instruction in computer science, diverse exposure opportunities, and high-touch mentorship by the industry’s top female leaders.
Girls Who Code provided students with skills, exposure, and support by delivering the following across our eight summer 2013 programs:
- 2500+ hours of intensive classroom instruction on topics such as robotics, web design, mobile app development, entrepreneurship and more
- 250+ guest speakers ranging from Fortune 100 CEOs to female undergraduate students majoring in computer science
- Over 45 field trips to industry giants such as Google, Intel, Facebook, Twitter, and more
- Nearly 500 hours of mentoring with professional women to discuss career aspirations, educational goals and personal interests
As we expand our programs, Girls Who Code is investing deeply in monitoring and evaluation to assess the impact of our work—determining both which efforts are helping us achieve our mission of closing the gender gap in the technology sector and where we could make improvements. We collected a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data over the course of the summer using tools including surveys (for students, teachers, and parents), site visits, classroom observation, evaluation of student assignments, and interviews to understand how our programs are achieving our intended impact (or not). We engaged an independent, third party evaluator to work with our staff in support of this comprehensive effort and to analyze data coming out of our summer programs.
The results are remarkable:
- 95% of participants said they are definitely or more likely to consider a major / minor in computer science after participating in the Girls Who Code program.
- 99% of participants said they are considering pursuing a career in technology and 81% definitely intend to do so.
- 99% of participants believe that learning programming will help them get a good job.
- 94% of participants feel confident in their ability to use computers.
- 99% of participants said they would recommend Girls Who Code to other girls.
Across all indicators, girls report having a positive experience in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, and demonstrate increased confidence, awareness of opportunities in computing, and intention to pursue computing in the future. The girls developed a tangible community, which not only fostered their interest in CS and their confidence, but will also persist with them and provide needed support as they continue in the field. These successes, we found, were encouraged by the open-ended and hands-on nature of the Girls Who Code curriculum; students excelled when the opportunity to implement technology on problems of their own choosing. In just one summer, students developed not only technical skills but also a battery of non-technical skills including confidence and a deeper understanding of the computing field.
Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will feature lessons learned from this summer, additional metrics and outcomes, and how we’re using these learnings to make future Girls Who Code programs even more effective.
My It’s the Economy column on Sunday looks at why traditional economic incentives alone don’t seem to be enough to encourage more women (or men, for that matter) to go into highly lucrative computer science jobs, which can often provide great flexibility to boot.
Part of the issue, it seems, is exposure. Most people don’t come into contact with computer scientists or engineers in their daily lives, and don’t really understand what they do. American schools don’t do a great job of teaching computer science skills either.
When she was a little girl growing up in the Bronx, Nikki Allen dreamed of being a forensic scientist. As a teenager, she liked studying science in school, and she thought forensics offered a way to give back to her neighborhood. Not insignificant, the job also looked pretty cool — at least based on the many hours of “CSI” Allen had watched on TV with her aunt.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science. But American universities are on track to produce qualified graduates to fill less than a third of those jobs, and only a tiny number of the graduates we do produce are women. According to U.S. Department of Commerce, just one out of every seven engineers are in this country are women.