Elysa Lee, 12, says she enjoys learning to code with friends through the Santa Clara City Library’s Girls Who Code program because she could turn to familiar faces when she has questions. Also in the same program are Rhea Nair, 12, and Anishka Bhartiya, 12, who both share that the program’s welcoming teachers have nurtured their flourishing coding skills. Amanda Kay, 11, enjoys the program so much she hopes to be a computer programmer someday. These young ladies were among the 40 who attended the local Girls Who Code Graduation Ceremony held at Central Park Library on May 15.
“Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization and our goal is to close the gender gap in technology and engineering sectors,” says Georgia Davis, west coast site manager of Girls Who Code. “Our programs are focused on teaching girls the fundamentals of computer science. We mostly work with middle school and high school students.”
“The goal of today’s event was to recognize all the girls in Girls Who Code and show their parents how special they are and what a great program they’re involved in,” says Erin Ulrich, program coordinator of youth services at the library. Ulrich also thanks the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends for a generous donation of 20 laptops.
Girls Who Code clubs located in Santa Clara are based at Central Park Library, Northside Library and Santa Clara High School.
“Technology is used everywhere and that’s why it’s useful to know how to code,” says Halle Kubota, 12. “It’s interesting for me to learn about the variables that make up a code. Just one error can cause a code to malfunction.”
“This is my second year of being in Girls Who Code,” says Emily Chao, 14. “Being here, I learned how to make a web site, how to do coding and how to create games. I also met girls from different schools here.”
“I hope to work in something related to programming and computer science but I’m also interested in medical science,” says Laasya Chukka, 13. “Maybe I can pursue a career that allows me to mix both interests.”
“Now I can make my own website and code in two different languages, Python and HTML,” says Julia Norscia, 12. “My best friend Ella is in this program; it’s fun to do something with my best friend.”
Guest speakers included Dr. Vivienne Ming, neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur, and Vandana Sikka, chairperson of Infosys Foundation USA.
“Sometimes you’ll think as you’re heading into college, ‘Ugh, my parents really want me to get an engineering degree but I really want to be a journalist;'” Ming says. “Awesome. Think how you’re going to see the world differently than all the other journalists when you see it through the eyes of an electrical engineer.”
“As you grow up as beautiful young capable women, you will be surrounded by many people who will tell you, ‘That’s how the world works, that’s what you can do, that’s what you cannot do,'” Sikka says. “Don’t let them change what you really want to do. Keep that confidence within yourself.”