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Kimberly Bryant #ALD14 @findingada

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Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, is a pioneer in her field. Her organization operates out of the Bay Area but holds workshops throughout the US. Black Girls Code works to make STEM fields, particularly computer programming and tech, more diverse by getting younger generations excited and interested in code!

Bryant writes:

When I was first introduced to computer programming, as a freshman in Electrical Engineering, Fortran and Pascal were the popular languages for newbies in computing and the Apple Macintosh was the new kid on the block. I remember being excited by the prospects, and looked forward to embarking on a rich and rewarding career after college.

But I also recall, as I pursued my studies, feeling culturally isolated: few of my classmates looked like me. While we shared similar aspirations and many good times, there’s much to be said for making any challenging journey with people of the same cultural background.

Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.

Read her interview in TechRepublic here:

In the Bay Area, where Black Girls Code is well-established, Bryant has seen girls become leaders in their communities. They start clubs at school. They enroll in computer science courses and learn other programming languages. They compete in hackathons and app-building competitions.

Seeing girls thrive in this environment is inspiring to Bryant, but she always brings the conversation back to the reason she works so hard for this mission: Kia. Bryant constantly encourages her to push farther, harder, to take risks. After Kia attended the first Black Girls Code camp, she became more determined to succeed as an entrepreneur. Bryant feels confident in her daughter’s growth as a young woman and as a programmer.

“It’s inspirational to see my daughter gain self-confidence,” she said. “She talks about being a business owner as opposed to being a game tester like before. I’ve seen her whole vocabulary change.”

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