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Closing the Gender Gap in Tech

August 30, 2019

Women in Tech panel

The CSI Tech Incubator is working diligently to close the gender-gap in tech. The Tech Incubator officially launched a 15-week Girls Who Code program. [View the Gallery.]Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.

The Girls Who Code Club at the CSI Tech Incubator allows high school students to join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models. Through this program, high school students use computer science to design and build a project, solving real-world problems through code. Girls Who Code, with partners like the CSI Tech Incubator, is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st-Century opportunities.

When asked of the significance of a program like Girls Who Code, Computer Science Professor Sarah Zelikovitz stated, “Girls Who Code helps young women enter the tech world by giving them a comfortable environment where they can explore technology, ask questions, find mentors, and join a network. The energy at these meetings, the lessons learned, and the lifelong friendships and contacts that are formed give these young women strength to succeed.  At CSI, we strive to ensure that women, although a minority in most classes, thrive, feel included, and have a support network to carry them over difficult times, classes, and decisions.”

Throughout the Spring 2019 semester, GWC members were able to learn coding, build community, and learn from inspiring role models. Following a team deliberation, program participants elected to focus their group project on developing a tutoring platform called Teens Who Tutor.

To bring this project to fruition, members utilized a wide variation of platforms and languages, such as:

  • Adventure/Platform Game in Scratch – block-based programming language
  • Info App in Thunkable – block-based programming language
  • Chatbot in Python (using trinket.io platform) – text-based programming language
  • Quiz Game in Python (using trinket.io platform) – text-based programming language
  • Interactive Magazine Website in JavaScript and HTML (using trinket.io platform) – text-based programming language
  • APIs in JavaScript, JQuery, and HTML – text-based programming language

During the program, the CSI Tech Incubator facilitated a Women in Tech Panel where members had the opportunity to hear stories from successful women in different areas within the tech industry. Panelists included Kathryn Jonas, Software Engineer at TeachersPayTeachers; Clara Nice, Software Engineer at Squarespace; Dr. Sarah Zelikovitz, Computer Science Professor at CSI; and the moderator was Jasmine Cardona, Executive Director of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations.

The club was facilitated by CSI students Ellie Chen and Kaylyn Torres, who is the Treasurer of Emerging Ladies in Technology (ELiTe), and a member of CUNY Women in Technology NY. Kaylyn is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and was recognized as a Next Scholars and Academy Ambassador. She participated in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Twitter NYC and has held internships at GoReadyMade as a QA Engineer Intern, and TeacherPayTeachers as a Back-End Engineer Intern. This summer, she will be interning with Verizon Media, working on the Mobile Test Engineering team at Tumblr. As a special thank you, the CSI Tech Incubator granted a full scholarship for Kaylyn to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Kaylyn was selected from a pool of applicants, from which she was recognized based on her work and impact within the community.

The successful inaugural cohort, consisting of girls in grades 9-12, attending Lavelle Prep, Wagner, Staten Island Tech, St. Joseph Hill Academy, Curtis, Petrides, and CSI high schools and residing in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, concluded with a graduation ceremony showcasing each student’s work throughout the semester. In recognition of their hard work and dedication, students received certificates of completion as well as a gift bag consisting of an Amazon HD tablet, an Adidas bag, and CSI Tech Incubator swag. For more information on Girls Who Code, please visit https://girlswhocode.com/.

For more details on the Girls Who Code Club at the CSI Tech Incubator, please visit the student-created Website, https://gwcclub-csi-ny8376.weebly.com/.

 

By Ismael Hasan


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