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Black Girls CODE Hosts Computer Programming Workshop for Young Girls at Spelman College


Media Contacts:

Audrey Arthur
Spelman College

Abby Bobé
Black Girls CODE

ATLANTA (Oct. 12, 2012) -- Back by popular demand, Black Girls CODE heads to Atlanta’s Spelman College Saturday, Oct. 13, to present its one-day workshop “Build a Webpage” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Build a Webpage” will focus on the basics of HTML, CSS, and basic front-end Web development, along with the incorporation of Web and music.  It is part of BGC’s Summer of CODE campaign, which has been launched in 10 cities nationwide and impacted more than 400 young girls of color, ages 7 to 17. Determined to “change the ratio” the San Francisco-based nonprofit, Black Girls CODE provides one-day workshops and weeklong classes that introduce young girls to computer programming, robotics, electrical engineering and other areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in inner cities across the nation.

“Our programs are designed to help build a future for very bright and often very isolated young ladies by connecting them with visionary members of the technology community to foster opportunities for their continued exposure to STEM fields and their eventual entry into the workforce as tech entrepreneurs and leaders,” said bioengineering professional Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE.  

“Black Girls CODE is helping to create a new paradigm in the technology field by arming young girls of color with skills to be producers of technologies,” said Jakita Thomas, Ph.D., C’99, assistant professor of computer and information sciences and adviser to SpelBots, Spelman’s award-winning robotics team.  “Similarly, Spelman College prepares young women to be leaders in the technology industry through various curricular and co-curricular offerings on campus. We are pleased to be part of Black Girls CODE efforts to educate future innovators.”

During the “Build a Webpage” workshop, BGC will use Mozilla tools such as Hackasaurus and Thimble to introduce more than 80 students to basic programming and development.

"We're extremely proud to work with and learn from Black Girls CODE," said Mozilla executive director Mark Surman. "Mozilla is committed to building a new generation of digital creators, coders and Web makers, partnering with others who share our vision for a more Web-literate world. Black Girls CODE is a perfect example."

A complimentary technology career panel for parents will feature entrepreneurs, corporate representatives and educational leaders in the industry. The panel, “Imagine the Impact: Guiding Your Child into a Career in Technology,” will include Felecia Hatcher, CEO, Fever Pops; Ramanathan Singaram, office principal, Thoughtworks; Felicia Jones, president, Atlanta Black Data Processing Professionals; Jakita Thomas, Ph.D., assistant professor computer and information sciences, Spelman College; Christina M. Gardner-McCune, Ph.D., enrollment, and Community College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Kimberly Bryant, executive director of Black Girls CODE.  

The panel is designed to help parents navigate the waters of raising future coders and programmers by providing career insight, advice on continuing education, and information on various community programs and internships that support children from the elementary through collegiate level.  Parents will also have the opportunity to attend the inaugural Women Interactive technology festival hosted on Spelman’s campus Oct. 13.

The long-term mission of BGC is to introduce girls of color (African American, Hispanic and Native American) to STEM fields and allow them to envision themselves as tech creators and builders. “Although the digital divide is steadily eroding, tremendous barriers remain for the entry of women and minorities into the various technology and STEM fields,” said Bryant. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2015, 80 percent of the new jobs introduced in America will require a technical degree. Disparities among the number of women and minorities in computer science and other STEM fields are significant.

A 2012 report by NSF Science and Engineering Indicators and NSF Women, Minorities and People with Disabilities, reveals that Hispanics make up more than 15 percent of the U.S. population but earn less than 7 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computer science. African-Americans, about 13 percent of the population, earn less than 5 percent of these degrees. For women in these same demographics, the statistics are even less. Black Girls CODE is motivated to change these statistics by feeding the STEM pipeline and providing young girls of color a community of supporters and educators and an environment where they have role models who “look like them.”

“ThoughtWorks is thrilled to be partnering with Black Girls CODE,” said Grant Joung, office principal at ThoughtWorks San Francisco. “As a global information technology  consultancy and product development firm that has always advocated for social and economic justice, we live every day knowing how important diversity is for establishing a great team that can spark the next innovative product or solution. We're absolutely delighted to see so many students walk away from BGC classes feeling empowered to do more on their own! Planting that seed of curiosity and empowerment is a critical step towards a bold new future for these girls and the IT industry as a whole.”

Media Opportunities
To request event access or arrange media interviews with participants, please contact Abby Bobé at abby@blackgirlscode.org or 215-307-5107, or Audrey Arthur at aarthur3@spelman.edu or 404-270-5892.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author and playwright Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

About Black Girls CODE
Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been committed to providing girls from underrepresented communities’ access to technology and the 21st century skills necessary to become the tech leaders and creators of tomorrow. Black Girls CODE’s Summer of CODE campaign was created as vehicle to bridge the digital divide and “Change the Face of Tech” in the United States. The campaign serves as an awareness program to future weeklong programs taking place in Chicago, Oakland and Atlanta in fall 2012.

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