I'm A Girl Who Codes





Posts tagged with ‘code’

A Day in the Life of a Teacher Who Codes: Week 3


Hello! I’m Kristi, a teacher for Girls Who Code at Pixar, and I’m back again this week to give you an inside look at our . Here’s the scoop on week 3.


It’s time for another exciting week, and today I started off with teaching (OOP), a new and difficult concept. We started with extending their bouncing ball projects from last week, creating bouncing balls using OOP. 

After lunch, my students pulled a NEW PRANK on me that I did not see coming at all. In the afternoon, we had a lovely presentation by about the storyboarding and editing process of Pixar movies. For the rest of the day the students worked on a project to create a scene of falling snow.


This morning, I gave my students a little more time to finish their falling snow project before we moved onto the next one: the City Scroller project. To make sure everyone had an equal time on the computer, we made the groups switch who was using the computer every ten minutes. The City Scroller project is a hard one, so the students continued to work on it the rest of the day. 

They did not pull a prank on me today, which just made me more suspicious of them…



This morning was spent continuing the City Scroller project, and everyone worked really hard. This was the most difficult project so far, and the class started getting frustrated. I reminded them of our class phrase, “just keep coding,” and they managed to finish it a little before lunch. We then played a very fast game of mafia before we headed to lunch. After lunch, I expanded on what they’ve learned so far with OOP, and taught them about inheritance. They then expanded on their City Scroller project to add a block that would act like a player on the screen. They spent the rest of the day working on this while Amanda, Rhea, and I did everything we could to assist them. After class, Amanda, Rhea, and I had training for an upcoming workshop the students will be doing. Michael Frederickson taught us the basics of and how to integrate Python code to move Pixar characters around the screen. This was very exciting and I can’t wait for the students to do it next week!


Today was our trip to ! The Square and Twitter programs were also there, so it was a great opportunity to meet students from other programs. Dolby had all of us do an icebreaker in the beginning to get us to mingle with the other programs. For the rest of the day, they randomly assigned us to tables and groups to encourage us to meet new people. Tara Murphy and Poppy Crum gave presentations on Dolby and how they come up with new innovations. At lunch, we had the opportunity to network with Dolby employees. Each table had at least one female technical intern or employee. They really took an interest in GWC and what the students are doing. After lunch they broke us up into groups to demo some of their products. This was very fascinating and a lot of fun. The day ended with a discussion of the girls’ experiences and what they liked about the tour. Everyone had a ton of fun!



Last week my students expressed interest in me bringing my personal desktop to teach them about the parts of a computer. So, this morning I did exactly that. I opened up my computer and talked about each part I had and what role that part plays. I took some parts out like the hard drives, graphics card, and RAM sticks, and talked about the process of building your own computer. During lunch, we decided to watch together as a class. However, after lunch our day was cut short due to the protests that were going to happen in the Bay Area. 

Are you interested in learning to code or being a #TeacherWhoCodes? Learn more .

A Day in the Life of a Teacher Who Codes: Week 2


Hello! I’m Kristi, a teacher for at Pixar and I’m back again this week sharing the behind the scenes of our . Here’s the inside scoop on week 2.


It’s time to scratch what we’ve been doing with (pun intended) and start learning about . Python is a big jump from Scratch so today was filled with difficult lessons and fun projects like Mad Libs and creating a Text Adventure game. Today was also the first in a series of weekly lunches the students will have with their mentors. Each student is paired up with one female employee with a programming background at Pixar. Since the students were occupied during lunch, Amanda, Rhea, and I used this valuable time to meet with Erin to discuss the upcoming schedule. After lunch, Danielle Feinberg came to visit us and spoke about her Computer Science background and what she does at Pixar. Talk about a dream job! The students pulled another prank on me, and it starts to seem like this will become a daily occurrence. After that, the students worked on their projects for the rest of the day. Amanda, Rhea, and I ended the day with our weekly meeting with our site lead.


The students didn’t get all the time they needed to finish their Text Adventure project yesterday, so I started this morning by giving them some extra time. We then had a panel of women engineers at Pixar, and they answered questions the students had. It was interesting to hear each of their experiences, and also to learn some fun Pixar facts. After that, I continued the day by teaching some more complex Python concepts, including functions. In my experience, functions are a big hurdle students have to get over, and I saw a lot of struggle with it. The majority of the students finished their projects by the end of the day, but I could tell their understanding wasn’t quite deep enough. I took note of that and decided we should go over it again the next chance we get. Again my students pranked me, but this time I got them back. Two can play at this game ;)!


We did more Python today and the students created random generators of band names and Haikus. There were some hilarious combinations. Lucia Greco, a blind expert on technology, came to talk and really opened the students’ eyes to thinking about people with disabilities when designing projects. 

I continued with lessons on how to read programming documentation and how to efficiently use Google. Yes, googling is a real skill programmers need to know! They practiced these skills on a project using Pygame, and some of the students finished it by the end of the day. Again, they pranked me, and again I got them back. We’re all starting to have a lot of fun with this, and we’re trying to think of new things to do. 



As planned, I reviewed functions and gave students an assignment that focuses on how to utilize functions. I think this helped a lot and I believe my students now have a good understanding of functions. Before lunch, we went outside and played a game since we haven’t had many opportunities to do so this week. After lunch we got on the bus and headed over to for our first field trip. The students got to tour a startup company and see what it looks like on the inside. They were able to ask questions to a panel of employees, and I was so proud of the questions my students came up with. MemSQL was kind enough to provide food and giveaways during the trip, so of course the students loved that. They had a fun time, but we were also able to have a serious discussion on diversity in the workplace, since MemSQL has an almost all male engineering team and that is something they are aware of and want to change. By the time we got back to Pixar, it was time to go home. Amanda, Rhea, and I stayed for a little bit to clean up the classroom, reflect on how the week went, and prepare for anything we need for next week.

Are you interested in learning to code or being a #TeacherWhoCodes? Learn more . 

How to Walk That Stage With Girls Who Code Swag


Hello there! I’m Stacy Phan, an alumni from the at Pixar in 2015 and a current for the 2016 Summer Immersion Program at GE. I recently graduated from San Leandro High School and I wanted to make sure that I was representing everything I care about around my neck as I accepted my diploma…especially Girls Who Code. So, I created my very own Girls Who Code stole. 

If you’re like me and want to show off your status as a girl who codes at graduation - it could be your Summer Immersion Program graduation or even a future high school or college graduation - follow the steps below to create you own DIY Girls Who Code stole!

1. Design your stole.

I drew out different designs until I settled on one that I really liked. I included the Girls Who Code logo, the name of the Summer Immersion Program I did, and “<b> woman </b>.”


2. Find a customization vendor.

I contacted a local customization shop in my city to see what the costs would be to create my design.

3. Order your stole.

I ordered a (it comes in tons of different colors).

4. Finalize the customization.

After receiving the stole, I went to the customization store to show them my design and figure out if embroidery or vinyl print would be best. We ended up going with vinyl just because the stole I got was pretty thin satin and I didn’t want the embroidery to go through and show on the other side. I had a friend digitize my paper design on Adobe Illustrator so that the people making my stole could use it for the vinyl print.

5. Show off your stole at graduation!

After 1.5 days, I had a personalized Girls Who Code stole - just in time for graduation!

Here are some additional tips and tricks that I wish I had followed to make the process easier:

1. Plan ahead.

I did not plan ahead, and had to pay an extra $4 for rush shipping. Also, digitize your design sooner than later. Whether it’s you or a friend who is doing it, make sure you finish up your design in advance so you can speed up the process of having the stole made.

2. Group order.

When you order in bulk, usually the order will be cheaper if the design is all the same. If you were all from the same summer program, the shop making your stoles might be willing to give you a discount. Or, if you decide not to put the name of your specific Summer Immersion Program, you could get more than twenty girls in on the order and it will definitely be cheaper overall.

3. Add your name.

This will increase the cost if you have it done at the store, but if you go to Michaels, they have iron-on embroidery and then you can make your stole even more customized and personal.

4. Add decorations.

I didn’t really have time to do this, nor did I particularly want to just because I wanted a very simple look. However, if you want to spice up your stole a bit, get a hot glue gun and drop by and there are a ton of things you could get to decorate your stole: fake flowers, rhinestones, glitter, ribbon, and more!

Do you want to learn to code and join Stacy and 10,000 other girls who code? near you!

A Day in the Life of a Teacher Who Codes: Week 0


Hello! My name is Kristi, and this is my second year teaching for . This year I have been placed at Pixar, something I’m just as excited about as the students. Each week this summer I’ll be writing about my experience as a so you can see how different it is from the other side. 


You may be asking yourself, “Why Week 0?” 

Two reasons:

  1. It’s my prep week so classes haven’t started yet.
  2. Because programmers start counting from 0. 

Week 0 is when my two TA’s, Amanda and Rhea, and I do everything we can to get ready for the summer.


It’s not time to go to Pixar yet, so today I’m working from home. The first thing I do after checking my email is look at Piazza. This is a forum for the teaching staff of all the Summer Immersion Programs to ask questions and get advice. Many teachers ask questions that are relevant for everybody, so it’s good to stay up to date on it. I spend a majority of the rest of the day going through all the documents GWC has provided for me, and bookmarking the most important ones. I quickly glance through the curriculum and start working on projects for Week 1. The last hour of the day I do a check-in via Google Hangout with my TA’s.



Today’s the day I get to go to Pixar! I have been waiting months for this. The meeting isn’t until 4pm, so I work from home all morning. I begin the process of going through lecture slides provided by GWC and updating them to match my teaching style and how I like to explain things. Finally, 2:30pm comes around and it’s time to make the journey to Pixar.

When I get there, I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas morning! We meet with Erin, Alyssa, and Addie, who will be helping us with anything we need. They give us a quick tour, and then show us the classroom. That is the moment it really hits me. This year is going to be completely different from last year. Up until this point I had pictured my old classroom at eBay. It scares me a little that I will have to come up with a new routine. After the tour, we discuss logistics for the summer and the “Meet and Greet” with the students and parents on Wednesday.


At 6pm it’s time to call it a day and drive home.


I’m working from home again this morning, mostly going through lecture slides and making sure I know everything about the projects the students will do. When 2:30pm hits, it’s time to once again make the journey to Pixar. Tonight is the Meet and Greet, and I want to be there by 4pm to help set up. We go over logistics again with Erin, and practice our introductions. At 5:30pm people start arriving, and I get very nervous about meeting the parents.

While everyone eats and mingles, we have them play . After that, we take them to a theater where we give an overview of GWC and talk about our coding background. Then it’s time for the classroom tour and we end the night with a screening of Finding Dory!



Confession time: Teachers don’t know everything. 

Specifically, I don’t know much about robotics and circuits. For one week of the summer we’ll be working with , which I’m very excited about, though I barely know anything about them. I spend all of Thursday learning as much as I can about them so I can feel more confident in my ability to each that section.



The laptops are ready for us to check, so the TA’s and I meet with Erin at Pixar first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, some of the programs we need did not install correctly so we spend the day going through each laptop and installing them. While I took charge of this, Amanda and Rhea wrote personalized notes on post-its that they put on each student’s laptop. We also organize our classroom supplies, cleaned off the white boards, and discussed the agenda for Day 1. We finished installing programs on all but a few laptops, but decided to call it a day by that point. We went home excited for our first week!

Do you have a question for Kristi? Email us at !

20 Thoughts That Go Through Your Head at a Hackathon

5:01 pm: Nap time’s over. Time to get up and go win a !


5:03 pm: What do I wear? I want to feel comfortable, since I’ll be up all night, but I always feel most confident when I’m more dressed up. I should probably try to fit in though, right? No, if I’m going to do this, I’m doing it my way. I’ll just wear my usual hoodie and leggings.

5:30 pm: Laptop, charger, phone, charger, glasses, blanket, water. All packed.


6:00 pm: I guess I should’ve left sooner. It looks like the best tables are full. Well, I’ll just find a group that needs another person. Hmm… who looks friendly? Or at least willing to take in a stray? I hope I find a group – it would be so embarrassing if the guy with the microphone has to announce to everyone I’m looking for teammates. Oh awesome, that guy’s waving me over.

6:15 pm: They’re nice, and our project idea is awesome! It always seems like judges prefer the projects that are made up of complex code and solve real problems. Games can be cool, but I think our application has a better shot at winning. Oh, are those snacks?!



7:20 pm: It probably would’ve been a good idea to review Java before this. Well, I’m remembering the syntax slowly and all object-oriented languages are pretty similar.


8:43 pm: Why can’t I find the bug in my code? I’m positive I wrote this function correctly, so the logic is correct. It must be a syntax error. I can’t find it. Ugh, time for a Chipotle break.



10:58 pm: Yes! We’re making such great progress! I’m even helping out the guys with their code. I wonder what the other teams are coding? I hope our project is impressive enough. I feel confident about the code, but is it really scalable? Is it profitable? These are all considerations that need to be mentioned when we present. Well, focus on one thing at a time. The pitch is the last part of the project to deal with.


1:15 am: I would kill for a coffee right now. 


1:17 am: Oh good, I see a mentor heading towards me! I could definitely use some help :)

1:52 am: Wow, that mentor was awesome! She was so sweet and helpful. It’s hard to believe she gets to code for a living. It would be like solving puzzles as a job! Ok, focus. Time to finish this Class and move onto the main one.


3:42 am: Come on, you can do this! Just stay awake. Stay. Awake. Ok fine, maybe a ten-minute nap won’t set me back too much.


4:12 am: I should’ve set an alarm. Well, now it’s time to start working on the interface. The guys made some great progress, so I think we can finally get started on the front-end.


6:21 am: Almost done! It’s not beautiful, but our project functions perfectly. I hope the judges care more about the complexity of the code than they do about the interface.


7:15 am: Neither of these guys looks particularly excited about pitching, but I’m happy to do it! Now I’ll get to present and defend our project to the judges. Ok, power stance. Stand up straight. Smile. Pitch time!



8:30 am: I think that went well! One of the judges asked some tough questions, but I think I defended our project confidently. They seemed impressed I was so comfortable with the code… I’m not quite sure if I should their surprise as a compliment or an insult, but either way I’m glad they liked the presentation. At least the hard part’s over – now we just have to wait.


9:42 am: While I love hearing the other groups’ pitches and I’m super impressed by everyone’s projects, can I go home and sleep now?


10:25 am: Did I just hear that correctly? Maybe I’m so exhausted I’ve started hallucinating. No, it looks like I’m right – we won! I don’t even feel tired anymore. Sure, you can take my picture.


10:42 am: It feels like I’m sleep-walking back to my dorm. This was so much fun, though! I can’t wait for the next hackathon.


11:00 am: Zzzzzz

Want to meet some awesome female coders and create your own hackathon team? Join a!

By Lucy Berman

Picture Credits: , 

Maya Espinel & Lucy Hartigan: Proving Age is Just a Number


Meet Maya and Lucy, two middle school coders from New Jersey. These girls not only have big aspirations - a professional soccer player and a star on Broadway - but have also already started using their knowledge of technology to help change the world! 

After hearing about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Maya and Lucy wanted to help. They built a website, “,” to educate middle and high school students about lead poisoning and how to prevent it. They hope to take a trip to Flint to interview those affected by the water crisis and help bring awareness to the problem. 

Read the Q&A below to learn how Maya and Lucy aren’t letting their gender or age stop them from building technology that can improve society.

Q&A with Maya & Lucy:

Tell us about yourselves.

Lucy: I am 11.5 and go to the Hoboken Charter School. 

Maya: I am 12 years old and also go to the Hoboken Charter School.

What’s your dream job?

Lucy: I have 3 ideas. I want to be an engineer, a computer scientist or sing on Broadway.

Maya: I love to play soccer. I wanna be a soccer player or biochemist. 

Why did you join Girls Who Code?

Lucy: Our math teacher convinced us to do it. 

Maya: We though it was a cool to be able to make websites. 

What have you learned?

Maya: We’ve learned to build a website with HTML. 

Lucy: It was really interesting learning how to make a website from scratch. You have to be very precise. 

You created a website to educate other students about the Flint water crisis and lead poisoning. Where did that inspiration come from? 

Maya: We do community service every year and this year we learned how some people don’t have clean water to drink. When we heard about what was happening in Flint, we wanted to help because kids like us are being affected by it. Our website teaches people what lead poisoning is and how to prevent it. 

Lucy: People can take a survey after to tell us what they learned and how we can make it even more helpful. It’s directed towards middle and high school students. There’s also an interactive map that shows areas in the US that have the highest risk of lead poisoning. There are different colors on a scale of 1-10. 

What’s next?

Maya: We want to expand the website so there’s more content and maybe even go to Flint to interview kids there. 


Want to join a Girls Who Code club like Maya and Lucy?

Girls DO Code.

This week we released a series of videos satirizing ridiculous theories about why girls can’t code. Of course we know that girls CAN code, but each day women in tech - and many other industries - are faced with negative biases simply for being women. Thus, in addition to teaching girls to code, we have to change culture. 

These videos are meant to spark conversation and reclaim stereotypes related to gender and appearance that have been used to exclude women from traditionally male-dominated fields like technology. We’re seeing an impact. The conversations in the comments sections of our videos and on social media are proof that there’s still work to be done to close the gender gap in tech, and we’re here to keep fighting the fight. 


Here are some of our favorite comments:

“da fuck is this…”

“i love tits tho lol”

“You are wasting electricity with absolutely ridiculous tweets.”

“Feminism is about unattractive women whining for attention.“

“See? This is how you can tell western women really are privileged. They just make shit up to be upset about. Nobody has said women can’t/shouldn’t code. Fuck outta here lmao.“

“Why can’t girls code? Maybe because they are all busy getting gender studies degrees.“

“Instead of grandstanding and using your genitalia as a means of broadcasting this, start coding things. build yourselves up in the industry. Create startups and actually put that coding know-how to good use.”

“This is bullshit, no girls are excluded from tech stuff. It’s just that most girls prefer to cry about not having enough girls in tech instead of just learn science.“

“This is pathetic and ridiculous.”

“Why the fuck do women have to “womenize” every single fucking thing these days and make a fucking campaign or a hashtag out of it?” 

“Yea we know you are a woman and can do everything a man can do and u deserve equal chance and shit bla bla… Now Calm d fuck down already… 😑😑”

And this comment sums it up: 

“lmao this comment section is a clear example of why this video was needed and something so obvious like ‘girls do code’ be highlighted.“

Want to support the Girls Who Code movement? Start a , , or .

Anusha Khan: There is No “I” in “Code”


“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much power they have with the technology they have at home.” - Anusha Khan

Meet Anusha Khan, a writer, volunteer and a girl who codes. Growing up, Anusha wasn’t interested in computers and thought that computer science wasn’t for her. After learning to code, Anusha now plans to major in computer science and wants to teach other people to code so that they have the same “superpower” that she has. She’s even received a scholarship from Apple to attend their Worldwide Developers Conference and hopes her future career will combine code with journalism.

Learn more about Anusha, her passions, and the technology she can’t live without in our Q&A below.

Q&A with Anusha Khan:

What was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be a journalist. 

What is your dream job now?

I want to find a way to combine journalism and code to do something awesome for the world. 

What does it mean to be part of the Girls Who Code movement?

literally translates to “opportunity” in my mind. It’s hard to forget the impact this organization has had on my life. Before Girls Who Code, I had no idea what I wanted to major in - computer science was the last thing I thought I was going to study in college. Yet, after the , I realized that programming was something I actually enjoyed. I didn’t have to be a genius, just being me was enough. 

Did you always like computers?

No, I didn’t. I always thought computers were for people who were really smart and really good at math. It wasn’t until I took a class about online networking that I realized how important computer science was. 

What piece of technology are you most reliant on?

My Mac Book. It’s something I rely on 24/7. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much power they have with the technology they have at home.

What was the hardest part of learning to code?

My biggest problem was understanding that you don’t need to be great at math to learn to code. As long as you try it out, you’ll realize that there’s a world of opportunities available to you. 

Have you ever encountered people who stereotype you because you’re a girl who codes?

I feel like a lot of people view woman who code as a prop in the computer science industry - they believe it is just a fad. I have overcome that by showing them that my ideas are here to stay and be implemented. 

How has coding made you more confident?

It’s like having a superpower.

Is coding creative? How?

Coding is just like writing a story. You have a beginning, middle and end. You are able to create an entire world with code.

How does code tie to your passions?

A big passion of mine is volunteering and there are so many organizations looking for women to help other women learn to code. I now teach other women to code. I also coded an app called “Remind Them,” which is an app for students who have to take medication and aren’t sure what the purpose is.

Similarly, girls I’ve met along the way are majoring in theater, medicine and political science. You can combine code with anything.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Reshma Saujani, the founder of , stated in a New York Magazine interview,“ I had a colossal failure; I was humiliated but I’m still alive. Now, I feel like I can do anything." 

I remember thinking when I first read that statement that it was a crazy idea. I still think it’s crazy. However, this statement really motivates me to try because a lot of us are fearful of failure.

What would you say to a girl who thinks coding is not for her?

It is for you. You just have to try. You don’t need to be super smart to code. All you need is a passion to do something for the world. 

Want to learn how to code like Anusha?

Robin Shum: Going for Gold - a Girl [Scout] Who Codes


“Just how becoming good at something takes work and time, the glass is only half empty if you let it appear that way.” - Robin Shum

Meet Robin Shum, a high school senior from New York. Aside from coding, Robin is a Girl Scout who enjoys baking, cosmetics, jewelry-making and is the Treasurer of her school’s Olympiad team. Robin loves to code because of the creativity is fosters. She hopes to use her knowledge of coding and technology to start her own cosmetics company that is eco-friendly and non-toxic. 

Learn more about Robin in our Q&A below.

Q&A with Robin Shum:

What was your Girls Who Code experience like?

was the best summer experience I ever had; I think I felt genuinely happy every single day of those seven weeks because I was surrounded by new friends who encouraged and supported each other through our struggles of learning how to code. I never realized how creative the field of computer science could be!

So, coding is creative?

Creativity isn’t just in physical art. You can be creative with code. When you code, you solve problems. There are many ways to code a solution to something and you can personalize how you want to solve it. 

What was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be a fashion magazine editor-in-chief. Fashion is so creative and I wanted to control the direction of creativity in fashion by being an editor-in-chief. 

What’s your dream job now? 

I want to be a software engineer or CEO of my own company. 

What type of company?

I’ve been interested in cosmetics and how most of them have toxins in them and fantasize about starting a cosmetics company that is eco-friendly and non-toxic. The summer before I attended , I interned at a Chemical Engineering lab where we worked on applying a non-toxic surfactant to oil and water with the potential for use in cosmetics. That sparked my interest. 

Right now, I’m actually working on my girl scout project in cosmetic awareness. Part of the project is creating a database that holds information about non-toxic products. You can check out the project . 

Were you always interested in computers?
I was always fascinated by computers. I discovered computer science in high school because my sister was majoring in electrical engineering. When we were younger she would teach me quick codes on the keyboard. My sister actually found the Girls Who Code opportunity and was too old to apply but thought I might like the opportunity.

What was the hardest part of learning to code? 

It was difficult to grasp the very concept of coding at first: how can words typed into a little box tell the computer what to do? Once I understood the proper syntax and what each command did, though, coding became less intimidating.

Have people ever stereotyped you because you’re a girl who codes?

In my experience, the hardest part about being a woman in particular is that people don’t expect you to be interested in computer science, though that just may be because I don’t spew tech knowledge at school. 

Why do you think it’s important to teach girls to code?

Generally speaking, girls in my generation and prior generations haven’t been introduced to computer science at an early age while many boys have. Our lack of exposure shows in the statistical demographics of tech companies. So, it’s important to teach girls computer science so we can reach gender parity and remove the “boy’s club” label on tech companies. No one should be afraid to go into an industry because there are no role models who look like them.

Has coding made you feel more confident?

Learning to code made me see that coding is not as intimidating as it seems. I’ve learned to just give things a try and even if I fail, it doesn’t mean that I’m not good enough to code. Becoming good at something takes work and time. 

Has this mentality helped your perspective on failure?

Definitely. Failure is all subjective. I think I felt like the biggest failure when I was rejected from my “dream school” on March 31st. My initial thought was, “Oh my goodness, my life has amounted to nothing.” What had I done wrong? I indexed my extracurriculars, grades, essays. In retrospect, I realize how ridiculously dramatic I was being. A few days later, after I got that dramatic response out of my system, I realized a few things: although this one thing didn’t work out, I didn’t magically forget how to debug code, make jewelry, or research toxic cosmetics. It took lots of work and time to learn those things, and my one setback wasn’t going to make those achievements disappear. My life was still something, I was okay! So what if one thing didn’t go the way I planned? That’ll probably happen a lot more in my life. I could view my rejection as being labelled “Not Good Enough for Princeton,” but that self-pity won’t get me anywhere. College rejections–and failures in general–don’t determine anyone’s self-worth. Instead, I view the acceptance I did receive as a new, exciting opportunity and move on from there: I’m going to college, going to live in a new place and learn new things! The glass is only half empty if you let it appear that way.

Want to learn how to code like Robin?

The Top Ten Reasons to Be a Teacher Who Codes


We asked our and  teachers why they became teachers who code. This is what they told us:

Top Ten Reasons To Be A Teacher Who Codes:

  1. Inspire: What’s more rewarding than knowing you were able to have an impact on the next Facebook founder?
  2. Be a role model:  Lead by example.
  3. Pay it forward: Doing good for others can have a powerful, positive effect on the immune system.
  4. Literacy: Coding is the new literacy. Not knowing how to code today is like being able to read but not write. 
  5. Challenge Stereotypes: Many girls steer away from computer science because of the intimidating stereotypes that surround it. Help dispel those myths!
  6. FUN: Show that Computer Science isn’t boring - it’s exciting and creative! Students get to build websites, apps AND play with robots!
  7. Access: Show students that people from any background can successfully work in tech.
  8. Social Impact: Help students build useful tools for their community. There are so many things I want to make to help my community!
  9. Nostalgia: Introduce students to something I wish I’d known about in high school! Remember when typing was the computer class in school? Sigh!
  10. Community: Facilitate a safe learning environment for students to explore, take risks and make mistakes! 

Sounds pretty good, right?

Interested in being a teacher or know someone who might be? Go to and we’ll send you information on how to get involved!

Adrienne Shulman: Teacher Who Codes


“I wouldn’t describe myself as someone interested in “computers.” I love solving problems, and that’s exactly what computer science and coding is all about.” - Adrienne Shulman

Meet Adrienne Shulman, a , mother of three and a woman who codes. In our Q&A with Adrienne, she dispels the myth that you have to be a genius to code and explains why you don’t even need to LOVE computers to love coding! 

Q&A with Adrienne Shulman:

Why did you join the Girls Who Code movement?

As a women with a 16 year career in technology, I see the huge gender disparity first-hand every day. I read an article in the New York Times in April 2013 that mentioned Girls Who Code, and I immediately emailed to ask how I could !

What was your dream job growing up?

There is too much pressure to answer this question, and I never really knew WHAT I wanted to be. I certainly didn’t want to be a programmer, though. I hardly knew what programming was when I was growing up in the 80s/90s.  

What was the hardest part of learning to code?

Nothing! It came very easily to me.

Have people every stereotyped you because you are a coder?

There have been several times when I’m in a work meeting and others in the room - men and women both - have assumed that I’m a project manager and not a coder.  

How has coding helped you become comfortable with failure?

Balancing family and a career is always a challenge. I have 3 children (ages 5, 7 and 9) and a demanding full time job, but making it balance was never as hard as it was the first year after my first child was born. I switched to a part time job when my first child was 1 year old and was able to stay in the game to keep my skills current, keep earning a paycheck, and keep continuity on my resume until I was comfortable going back full time. What’s wonderful about coding is its flexibility; it’s a job that you can easily do part time, from home, or at odd-hours. It can be perfect for balancing your home life and your work. 

Were you always interested in computers?

No, and I wouldn’t even describe myself today as someone interested in "computers.” I love solving problems, and that’s exactly what computer science and coding is all about!

What were your other passions growing up?
Horseback riding, gymnastics, cheerleading and tennis. 

Do you think coding is creative?

Is this a trick question? Coding is used to create SO MUCH, from the obvious things like websites and apps to the physical world of robotics, medical devices, cars, film and media. Now, ! It’s hard to find an area in life or an industry that coding has not helped create. Also, unlike math where there is often just one right answer to a problem, with coding there are many ways to solve a problem!

Who is your role model?

Sheryl Sandberg

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your role model?

Everything written in her book Lean In.  

What would you say to the girl who doesn’t think coding is for her?

I would ask her why and ask her what she thinks coding is. Non-techies seem to think coding is some secret club and that it’s very difficult to learn. I imagine some coders like to encourage this air of mystique but I like to dispel the myth. Coders aren’t coders because they are smarter than you; coders are smarter because they code. Anyone can learn to code. I believe role models are important and if a girl has never met a female coder in person and doesn’t see women or girl coders in pop culture, it’s hard for her to understand that coding could be for her. 

How can a girl who wants to learn to code get started?

The obvious answer is to start a ! There are plenty of free online resources to learn coding, and I certainly encourage that, but the encouragement you get by joining a group of other girls in a club is incredibly valuable. 

What piece of technology do you rely on most?

My Tesla. 

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None! FOMO, take that!

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Amilia St. John: Alex St. John’s Daughter & a Proud Girl Who Codes.


Meet Amilia (Mili) St John, a front-end developer based out of Portland, Maine. A week ago, she reminded us why we do the work that we do at Girls Who Code with a , “I am Alex St. John’s Daughter, and He is Wrong About Women in Tech.”

The post is a must read, a brave and honest rebuttal to her father’s “toddler meltdown” in a post he wrote on . She begs her father “for the love of his daughters, to stop hindering our progress as women in the industry and start using his influence to promote positive experiences for minorities in tech.” 

We had the opportunity to interview Mili, hear about why she almost stopped learning to code, and learn how she’s attempting to debug the gender gap in her home state by creating access to technology. 

Q&A with Mili St. John:

What’s your first memory of computers?

My dad came to visit us in Maine and bought us a Nintendo 64. He set it up and bought as many games as possible. He started playing it and actually got so into it that we couldn’t get access to play it for a bit. Once I got the controller, I got really hooked on video games and technology in general.

Were you always interested in learning to code?

For the majority of my life, I truly felt like I was not smart enough to pursue coding. There were a myriad of factors that contributed to this:

  1. My sister was pegged as the smart one from an early age, while I was pegged as the artsy one (check out Mili’s art below)
  2. I went to coding camp as a 12 year-old and struggled - even though the coding camp was for 15-17 year-olds. I was so confused and frustrated by the advance concepts, that I dismissed myself as not being smart enough to code. I punished myself for not immediately understanding coding concepts that were meant to be understood by those much older than me. I did have some excellent experiences at this camp, though, I got to 3D model, build robots and create video games.

When did you pick coding back up?

When I got to college, I ended up applying as a computer science major and got accepted. To be honest, I didn’t get it for the entire first semester. However, there was a spark moment where I realized, “OH, THIS IS WHAT IS GOING ON!” I had to practice and realized it was okay to be the underdog. In the end, I had all of the ability to be a good coder, but distinctly lacked the confidence and the desire to try.

Has learning to code given you more confidence?

Oh ya. I’ve realized it’s not really about base-talent. Some people are more naturally inclined to do things and some people are more naturally inclined to code. If you’re interested in something, you just need to practice.

So, anyone can code with a little practice?

Dedication and practice is all you need to be good at anything. There are some things in my life that I’m naturally talented at, like art, which I practice all the time. Coding, which I’m not naturally talented at, I also practice all the time.

A selection of Mili’s Art: 


So, why did you decide to post about your father on Medium?

When I feel like I need to do something, I’ll sit back for hours and hours and hours and do it until it’s done. I very strongly disagree with my father’s opinions, but have unfortunately ignored them for too many years. It was time to address them. 

How has the response been to your post?

Only positive. I am so amazed by the stories I’ve been getting from the women who have been victims of sexism in the workplace - in major-named companies, by the way. I definitely want to keep working on this.

Why do you think women don’t pursue careers in tech or STEM?

I think the feeling of intellectual inadequacy is an issue that affects a lot of women in STEM. There is a lot of subtle and not so subtle messaging in our society to discourage women from STEM. When a girl actually enters STEM, she is often more harshly judged by her colleagues and it is often assumed that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. This only contributes to her feelings of inadequacy. 

What’s next for you? 

I would like to continue to be a voice for women in tech. The disparity is real and I would like to share experiences with everyone so that they know they are not alone. It is so important for everyone to have a network of alike peers that they can talk to about their experience. 

I grew up in Maine and there was no access to coding then and there still isn’t now. I want to help initiate a change. This mission is not singularly focused on women, but I believe if the message comes from a woman in the first place, more young women will feel comfortable coming forward to participate and pioneer engineering and computer science at their schools. I believe if we start at the root, more women and minorities will be excited to participate from the beginning, and I intend to be very active about encouraging them to.

Who are your role models?

I am very lucky to have been raised and influenced by a family of powerful women.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It’s important to take the time to understand what you want to do, practice and take all the necessary steps to get there. It sounds cliche, I know, but it’s true. For example, I love front end development because it’s art and coding. It’s an immediate artistic venture because you can see what you’re creating. 

What are 5 pieces of technology you can’t live without?

  1. My laptop
  2. , a front end developer network.
  3. that I use to create art
  4. for Java programs
  5. for developer tools

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Phillip Pride: Proud Teacher Who Codes


“Whenever I bring up coding, people’s favorite words seem to magically become nerd and weird. When I was younger, I treated the words like daggers to my chest, but now I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing wrong having pride in your interests even if they aren’t shared by a lot of other people.” - Phillip Pride

Meet Phillip Pride, one of our teachers who codes. Phillip is an avid gamer, crediting his Xbox One as his favorite pieces of technology. He’s joining our movement as a teacher who codes in order to ensure that computer science has diverse people working in it to reflect it’s diversity as an industry. 

Read more about Phillip in our Q&A below.

Q&A with Phillip Pride:

What was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be a scientist.

What’s your dream job now?

I moved past being a scientist in middle school and decided on working in the video game industry as a programmer.

Did you always like computers?

Oh yeah, definitely. That’s pretty much due to my love of video games. 

What’s your favorite piece of technology?

It’s a tie between my phone and my Xbox One.

Do you think coding is creative?

Coding is one the most creative things I do in my everyday life. Being able to materialize the ideas I have in my head is an unbelievably self-empowering. Having my only true limitation be what I can come up with makes me excited whenever I sit in front of a keyboard.

What made you join the Girls Who Code movement?

The field of computer science has so many paths and options; it’s just too diverse to not have the people working in it reflect that diversity. The movement is giving a group of individuals who have potential do be great computer scientists a chance to show their stuff and advance the technology field to new heights and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of such a movement.

Have you encountered people who stereotype you for being a coder?

Whenever I bring up coding, people’s favorite words seem to magically become nerd and weird. When I was younger, I treated the words like daggers to my chest, but now I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing wrong having pride in your interests even if they aren’t shared by a lot of other people.

So, coding has made you more confident?

Definitely. Having the power to solve problems with the programs I’ve written is awesome and makes me feel like I’m part of a community.

Tell us about a time you overcame failure:

In my freshman year of college, I took a website and database class. The HTML and PHP portion of the class was easy enough, but using SQL to create a database and connect it to my website proved to be quite a challenge. It felt like everything that I tried to do to solve my issues were either completely futile or made my problems worse. It took a lot of trial and error and asking questions to finally get everything working the way I wanted and in the end my video game review website turned out pretty cool.

What do you say to the girl who doesn’t think coding is for her?

I’d say at least try it out. There’s no harm in taking a course in school or trying out an online course in your spare time. If you find that it’s not your cup o’ tea, you can at least say you tried something new but, if you do enjoy it, then you’ve taken the first step in being a coder and that is absolutely awesome.

Who is your role model?

My best friend, Kirk Murphy.

What’s the best piece of advice Kirk has given you?

Keep grinding no matter how hard things get.

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Jessica Zalzman: Teacher Who Codes


“I wasn’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn coding in high school, so I would love to give that chance to others, especially young, intelligent women who do not know what they are missing out on.” - Jessica Zalzman

Meet Jessica Zalzman, a sophomore at Georgia Tech who is a teacher. Outside of coding, she’s an avid runner and music fan. Jessica joined our movement of Teachers Who Code to give teenage girls the opportunity to learn to code, something she wishes she had when she was in high school.

Read more about Jessica in our Q&A:

Why did you join the Girls Who Code movement as a Teacher Who Codes?

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn coding in high school, so I would love to give that chance to others, especially young, intelligent women who do not know what they are missing out on.

Were you always interested in computers?

I was always technologically savvy and my dad would always teach me things here and there but I would mostly use the computer to either play computer games or to engage in creative projects.

What’s your favorite piece of technology?

The laptop because it is so versatile. 

What’s the hardest part of learning to code?

The hardest part of learning to code was working through those moments when I would get stuck on one piece of code that just wouldn’t work. However, overcoming this always made it worth it.

How has coding made you more confident?

Coding has made me feel more confident in the sense that I know it is going to be a very useful skill to have in the years to come because technology is our future and someone has to be able to program that technology and come up with new ideas. It is nice to know that I have a coveted skill.

Has coding helped you become comfortable with failure?

I vividly remember a cross country race I was in where I was in second place going into the final half mile or so. The girl in first place was too far for me to see, so I somehow ended up taking a wrong turn and adding an extra loop to the race. When I made it back to the main track, I saw dozens of girls running towards the finish line, but instead of just giving up, I kicked it into high gear and used all of the energy I had left in me to power past about 30 girls in order to end up in 11th place. It wasn’t the placement that I had expected when I was comfortably in second place, but I was proud of my choosing to overcome instead of give in.

Is coding creative? How? 

Coding is definitely creative, not only because there are so many different types of things that can be made through programming, but also because there are so many different ways to solve certain problems. The creativity and originality lies in the specific way each coder chooses to solve the exact same problem.

How does code tie to your other passions?

I am hopelessly in love with music. The main source of new music nowadays is through streaming and other types of technology. 

What would you say to the girl who thinks coding isn’t for her?

I say that she shouldn’t knock it until she tries it, just like anything else in life. I had no idea how much I would love it until after I started coding in college.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Always make some time for yourself.

Follow Jessica:


  • Snapchat: jzalz16 

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Mei'lani Eyre: Rhythmic Gamer & Teacher Who Codes


“I really liked video games growing up, especially dance and rhythm games. Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Just Dance were my favorites. It doesn’t come as any huge surprise though, given that I was really big into musical theater and acting for the majority of my life. So really, rhythm and dance games just combined two of my biggest interests into one.” - Mei’lani Eyre

Meet Mei’lani Eyre, one of our Teachers Who Codes. Mei’lani joined the movement a year ago as a student in the . She’s paying it forward as a Teaching Assistant this summer. As a musical theater performer for most of her life, Mei’lani’s favorite technology are rhythmic games like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Just Dance. Who doesn’t love those games?

Learn more about how code ties into Mei’lani’s passions and some of her other favorite rhythmic games in our Q&A below!

Q&A with Mei’lani:

What was your dream job growing up?

When I was 4 or 5, I always dreamt of being an actress. I carried on trying to support this dream until around the age of 11, when I found that I didn’t quite have the passion or drive to become an actress. It was something that I found really didn’t suit me as a person, and I started thinking about the things I really like and enjoy doing. 

What’s your dream job now?

Computers are something I really enjoy, and can totally see myself working with for a career.

Were you always interested in computers?

They were always a big part of my life growing up, and I started to grow more curious about how they work around the age of 10. I loved using the internet, different computer programs, and learning; so I started learning to program around the age of 11 or 12. Once 13 hit, I started seriously considering computer science as my career path. By the age of 14, I had applied for Girls Who Code. A year later,

What were some of your other interests growing up?

I really liked video games growing up, especially dance and rhythm games. Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Just Dance are my favorites. It doesn’t come as any huge surprise though, given that I was really into musical theater and acting for the majority of my life. So really, rhythm and dance games just combine two of my biggest interests into one.

What made you join the Girls Who Code movement?

After two years of learning with no general direction in the field, I finally found the motivation and confidence to start building my future. For me, the first step in this was joining . My mom’s co-worker had suggested it a while ago, and I dismissed it thinking that I didn’t meet the criteria. But once applications for the opened up, I looked over it again and realized that I was completely eligible to apply. So I did, and I have ZERO regrets about that decision. This summer, I’m going to be a Teaching assistant and help inspire more girls to code!

What’s your favorite piece of technology?

I absolutely love arcade game machines. I think they’re a great piece of technology that have continued to grow and adapt despite the competition of console and PC gaming and they still manage to maintain a relevant status in the gaming world.

Which of your recently used emojis represents you perfectly?

Open mouthed smiley faces! :D

Is coding creative? How?

It’s totally creative! When you’re coding, you’re unlocking your inner MacGyver. You’re solving problems in unconventional ways, with strange tools and a ton of knowledge.

For example: At Girls Who Code, my team and I for our final project during the wanted to help people with anxiety through the power of digitally coded narwhals. Those may seem like two incredibly unrelated topics, but how else would we bring them all together in harmony without a little creativity?

What was the hardest part of learning to code?

Learning how to accept mistakes. I had this idea in my head that I was supposed to know the answer to everything and never make mistakes- because that’s how programmers are, right? Not at all!

Coding is FULL of mistakes! No matter what amount of experience you have, you’re bound to mess up here and there. And the magnitude of these mistakes vary every time. I made a lot of mistakes when I was first learning, and that really drove me away from wanting to continue on for the longest time. I didn’t think I was cut out for programming because I wasn’t smart enough. Because I couldn’t figure out some of the simplest bugs on my own. I didn’t understand that this was something that even the most seasoned programmers go through, it’s just a part of the work.

Now that I understand this, I don’t let myself get discouraged. In fact, I love the feeling you get when you finally fix a bug that’s been frustrating you for longest time. It’s not that I like having bugs in my code, it’s that I love knowing I fixed them.

So, coding has made you more confident?

Coding has made me feel more confident through the fact that I’m actually making something. I can’t draw or paint very well, and I’m not very good at writing stories or music. I’ve never thought I’m good at creating, well, anything. And I’ve never really liked anything that I’ve made.

However, coding has most definitely changed that. I like the programs I make. I’m building something from the bottom up, by myself. Through code, I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of more than I thought.

Tell us about a time you overcame failure.

Sometime in fall of 2015 I was looking for research projects to be apart of. I know a lot of high school students go and do college research at different universities, so I tried contacting a professor at a local university about one of his projects that really interested me. Because of my few options, I really had my heart set on working with him.

After maybe 4 days of anxious waiting I finally got an email back from him. We went back and fourth exchanging more information each time. Eventually he decided I wasn’t right for this project. However, he didn’t leave me with just that. He told me I was ambitious, and that I should continue to create my own luck to find opportunities that were the right fits for me.

That little piece of advice has stayed with me, as I’ve applied this every time since then where I’ve received a rejection letter from something I had my hopes set on. It reminded me to keep trying and to continue to push through, a thought process which has helped me overcome the many failures and rejections that followed after that event, but led to more successes than before. 

How does code tie to your other passions?

I’m a brown belt in karate, and I’ve been an assistant instructor for a kids karate class for the past two years. Karate has been a huge part of my life for the past 4 years, and a lot of my motivation to be in the field of computer science comes from the adults that I’ve met there who are in the CS field.

I’m also an avid rhythm gamer. I may not be well vested in the field of gaming as a whole, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge and passion when it comes to rhythm games. I’m talking Dance Dance Revolution, and super obscure games that most people likely haven’t heard of like Pump it Up, Stepmania, Osu!, and Pop'N. I love going to arcades and just seeing what they have in terms of rhythm games. I will spend a solid hour playing between two machines at an arcade if that’s all they have.

Who is your role model?

My karate instructor.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from your role model?

“Don’t hold yourself back”

What do you say to the girl that thinks that coding is not for her?

Coding doesn’t require you to be a genius the moment you start. It’s a learning process, and you get better as you go. Besides that, it’s not limited to just writing games and word processing software. You can combine code with just about anything that exists. Whatever interest you have in life, technology can come into play.

Where should girls who are interested in coding begin, what’s the best way to get started and to stick with it?

Step 1: Find an online tutorial that teaches you the basics of code. y and are great places for beginners to start.

Step 2: Make friends with people who are in the field. Or even just college students who major in CS. After you’ve been coding a while, you will reach an intermediate level where you’ve done every tutorial possible to learn the basics. But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need help applying this knowledge to different scenarios. That’s when friends with more experience than you come in. They’re not only great for introducing you to new things, but they’re great resources for when you’re stuck and you need help along the way.

Step 3: Profit

Though in all seriousness, learning the bare basics is super helpful and the most important step in beginning to code, but once you’re beyond that point it’s confusing to know where to go next.

Having friends in the field or with knowledge of where to go next is incredibly helpful with this problem! Or really, any group that’s similar. Finding a group like , ChickTech, or something related that aids you in expanding your horizons can definitely grow your knowledge and make you want to stick with coding.

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