Hello, my name is Aditi Patil. I am 18 years old and a freshman at Columbia University's School for Engineering and Applied Sciences. I wasn't always a technologically enthused person: when I was young, I had always fixated on the thought that computer programming was something for boys because it was too difficult to learn, had a "geeky" characteristic, and had too much of a lone wolf kind of atmosphere. However, after scheduling at my high school resulted in me having Introduction to Java Programming as an elective, I became immersed in the world of computer science. I enrolled in a summer coding camp as FlatIron school where I became aware of the shocking disparity between men and women in the Computer Science industry. This inspired me to start XX Coders as a high school club and become involved with organizations like Girls Who Code. I might not have stumbled onto computer science if it weren't for the push of my family and teachers, but not every girl has that opportunity. After several years of volunteering at the middle school in the nearby town of Wyandanch, I realized this was one of the places where no one really had exposure to computer science. Interestingly, the Girls Who Code that I interned at was at the Wyandanch Family Life Center but only two girls showed up and neither were from Wyandanch! Unsettled by this, I decided that someone should computer science to this area. We live in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) universe, where any career can be benefited with knowledge in computer programming. With so much love and passion for coding, I want nothing more than to spread this to other girls so that they may find success somewhere in their lifetime--not only in the field of computer science but all the many applications that coding provides.
What is our mission?
XX Coders was founded to encourage young women to learn about the wonders of the computer science field. Supporting girls’ interest in computer science will change the way many of them look at their careers and future goals, helping to close the shocking gender gap in this field. XX Coders has expanded its mission to bring computer science education to socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with special needs. Computer science is a booming industry in modern society and in order for technology to advance, everyone needs to be part of this progress, and this is XX Coders’ ultimate goal.
What do we accomplish?
The XX Coders Summer Camp is a program specifically designed to educate young women about the wonders of technology. Over the course of two weeks, participants will learn about the basics of computer science and how they can apply these skills to daily life. Due to the town in which the camp operates, the program is free to all female students, and includes the potential for once-in-a-lifetime field trips, the chance to meet amazing guest speakers who actively work in STEM-related fields, and daily activities that demonstrate the use of innovative technology. That is why we are requesting your help in raising money for these girls' education!
In the past, campers have visited Google Headquarters, met with STEM professionals such as Senior Manager of Process Management at Canon, Kathy Ziet, and earned coding certification and free XX Coders merchandise. The XX Coders Summer Camp is a great opportunity for young women to understand and utilize technology in order to forge a successful future. Additionally, over the last two years of running XX Coders, I have met amazing women, people, and companies who also fight for my cause and I am grateful to be taught by an amazing mentor, Stefana Muller, who created her own nonprofit Long Island Women in Tech to also pave the way for women in STEM in our area.
Why is it Important?
Technology has tremendous potential to make the world a better place, and women are just as capable of being these agents of change as men are. However, girls are often cautious to learn about computer science because they are influenced by the stigma that it is overwhelming and intimidating. By giving young women a chance to grow and learn about computer science, it will create endless possibilities of innovation and creativity for their future. With coding, a girl can accomplish almost anything. The apps we use everyday–Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on–would not exist without computer science and now young girls can learn how to make breakthrough apps and games as well! Technology is the future of our society, so it is important that girls too are part of this revolution.
The XX Coders Summer Coding Camp gives young females the tools necessary to take control of their respective futures. Through the use of engaging and innovative activities, educational presentations from high-profile guest speakers and demonstrations of new and groundbreaking technology, the XX Coders Summer Coding Camp is the perfect place for young women to fuel their coding passions.