This summer, I volunteered to be a guest speaker at Girls Who Code and it was an amazing experience! Girls Who Code is an organization that teaches high school girls the fundamentals of writing code while they work through some really neat projects. They start from “Scratch” and work their way up to Python – an impressive course load for a summer program.
Programs like these are crucial for getting more women into STEM fields where they’re currently underrepresented. I had the privilege of telling them about my research and about my path to becoming a computational neuroscientist.
I highly recommend these kinds of outreach opportunities to any of my friends and colleagues. It’s definitely worth making time for because just a couple of hours out of your busy schedule can influence the trajectory of someone else’s life. It’s so important for the next generation of girls to see examples of other girls who entered a field they had never seen themselves in. And it’s even more important for girls to know that the women who’ve made it were just as intimidated and unsure when they were girls themselves. Another reason I recommend doing this kind of outreach is because there is something cathartic about reflecting on how far you’ve come from when you were their age. Lighting up another girl’s path is the ultimate reward for all the obstacles and battles with self-doubt you’ve endured in reaching for your own dream STEM career.
P.S. Girls Who Code just started a fundraiser to continue offering this spectacular opportunity to learn to code to more girls. Check it out!