When I was in middle school, I was sporting some fresh braces. I had cowlicks in my bangs. I listened to way too much Savage Garden. And I stayed up late at night, teaching myself how to code. Back then, I didn’t know of any computer coding classes for people my age. I most definitely did not know any other girls who were interested in coding. Those experiences have stayed with me. I told myself that if I ever found a way to make a career in tech, I’d also find a way to mentor other young girls who were interested in doing the same.
That’s why it was an honor to spend a month teaching Kentucky’s middle school girls about web design, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. I love that these classes took place in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky – including at Tates Creek Middle School, where I first discovered my love for web design so many years ago.
For the past few years, I’ve been asking myself how I can best serve the world.
Is there a way I can use my talents and skills to help make a difference in the lives of others?
A couple common themes have always been near and dear to my heart:
1) helping bring more diversity to the tech field, and
2) helping empower others to launch their world-changing businesses, startups, nonprofits, and charities.
This has been the driving focus of my professional work. I’m grateful to have some exciting projects in the works that address both of these topics simultaneously: by teaching our schoolgirls to code with a focus on entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
Even better? All of my current projects focus on underrepresented girls and minority populations in my home state of Kentucky, where this work is so very needed. As a supporter of the Unvalley Movement, I truly believe some of our best tech talents exist outside of the Silicon Valley area, and it’s our job to support them.
As part of Lt. Governor Hampton’s STEM Challenge for Girls, I created curriculum for low-income middle school girls throughout Central Kentucky. The girls selected social impact projects that mattered to them, then developed websites to help raise donations and recruit volunteers. As part of their projects, they learned to code basic HTML and CSS, the building blocks for every site on the web.
View some of the girls’ websites and ideas in this blog post.
See a sample of the curriculum here and here
Want a course developed for your city? Please feel free to reach out.