Girls Who Code Bridges Gender-Gap in High-Tech


USC Marshall Partners with National Nonprofit Organization to Close the Gender-Gap in Technology

Last Updated: July 6, 2016 3:18 pm GMT
(July 6, 2016) The USC Marshall School of Business will partner with Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender-gap in technology, in hosting a summer immersion program for local high school girls June 27-August 12, 2016.

Forty 10th and 11th-grade girls from area schools will attend the seven-week session, which will be held in the dedicated classroom space of USC Marshall’s Centers of Excellence, in the USC Building in downtown Los Angeles.

“We are so excited to host these bright young women in conjunction with Girls Who Code,” said Sandra Chrystal, vice dean for online education and professor of clinical management communications at USC Marshall. “It is a superb opportunity for Marshall to partner with this extraordinary group and help introduce young students in our community to careers in technology and business.”

A reception will be held at the USC Building June 23 for girls and their families to meet their teachers and hosts.

The hard work starts the following Monday. Participants will work Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for seven weeks learning basic programming fundamentals, web development and design, mobile development and robotics. They will work on laptop computers provided by the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women and Girls, which is sponsoring the session. The Foundation will also provide nutritious lunches and snacks throughout the program.

The immersion program culminates with a final project the girls build and present. A graduation ceremony will be held for participants, their friends and families on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 6-8 p.m. in the Edison Auditorium in Hoffman Hall.

The Code to Success

The project-based curriculum is paired with exposure to the industry’s leading female engineers and entrepreneurs, including field trips and opportunities for high-touch mentoring. At USC, the girls will enjoy a campus tour and meet with Megan Clarke, chief information officer at Marshall, and members of the faculty.

USC Marshall School and its dean, James G. Ellis, are heavily invested in helping fill the pipeline for the next generation of female business leaders, said Chrystal. “Coding has led many women into positions of leadership and management. We want to make sure that business is on their radar.”

The Pain Point

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings, and yet women are on track to fill just three percent of them. According to the GWC website, interest in computer science among girls drops off dramatically between the ages of 13-17.

Girls Who Code was founded in 2012 by Reshma Saujani, an attorney and activist, who saw first-hand the gender gap in computing classes during visits to local schools when she was running for Congress in 2010. She launched Girls Who Code after learning that technology was the only major industry that had seen a dramatic decline in female employees over the past 30 years.


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