Written By: Rachel Teter
MetroStar recently partnered with South Bend (SB) Code School to host their annual Code:Girl event. Code:Girl is a virtual event open to 7th-12th grade girls, which aims to close the gender gap found in the technology industry by inspiring future coders.
During this event, girls from across the United States, and a few international participants, spent the afternoon collaborating with women who support a variety of roles in the technology industry. The goal for the event was for each girl to leave feeling inspired and confident about the impact they can make in the technology world and in their community.
"We value all of our partnerships, but this one is extremely important to us. Code:Girl has been one of our most favorite programs to run. With women only making up 1/3 of tech-related jobs in the US, it is more imporant now than ever to expose girls to these roles,” said Catlin Bulger, Program Development Coordinator at SB Code School.
MetroStar assembled a team of mentors that actively work in the tech industry to guide the girls through the event. The mentors worked alongside SB Code School's coordinators to provide the girls with strategies, ideas, and best practices to create applications to help their community and the environment.
"MetroStar was honored to partner with SB Code School to inspire the next generation of women in tech through the Code:Girl Event,” said Anne McCombe, MetroStar’s Business Relationship Manager. “From the engagement and creativity of the participants to the thoughtfulness of the MetroStar presenters and mentors - it was all around a fantastic event introducing young girls to the endless opportunities in the world of tech."
An example of the way the MetroStar mentors helped the girls understand the importance of User Research.
Prior to the event, participants were provided with Code:Girl kits that contained materials like markers, wireframes, stickers, and sticky notes to make their apps visually come to life. Throughout the morning, the girls rotated through specialized sessions where MetroStar mentors coached them on requirements, user experience, development, and messaging.
The event concluded with each girl presenting their application idea to the group for feedback. The app ideas were full of ways to bring life back to communities, both for members and the green spaces surrounding them.
Each participant took a unique approach to using technology to be better stewards of the environment. Ideas ranged from applications that raise awareness of environmental impacts, such as coral bleaching or endangered species hunting, to upcycling trash into art and creating a marketplace for distribution. Others created ways to bring together the internet of things (IOT) and daily activities to design reward systems for being environmentally conscious.
"It was so inspiring to see their ideas and passions come to life, and I think the theme of apps that let us be kinder to the planet hit home for a lot of the girls," said Liz Dean, a Sr. UX Strategist at MetroStar.
The focus of each application highlighted the unique approach that girls of all ages bring to bridging together technology and community service, and the importance of the future of girls in tech.
"This age group's grasp on technology and what it can do for the world is so good," said Marie Piece, a Visual Designer at MetroStar. "I think they have a better understanding of the future of tech more than most in the field because they grew up with it around them and understand the impact of digital platforms."
The goal for Code:Girl was also to expand awareness beyond the thought process behind building web applications. Throughout the day, girls were encouraged by the mentors to confidently share projects and ideas they are passionate about. Creating safe spaces, even virtually, for girls to explore, question, and create can dramatically impact how they perceive themselves as future technologists.
“One of the girls in my group had lost interest in coding, and Code:Girl inspired her to re-enter the tech world and reignite that passion," said Sierra Romero, MetroStar's Marketing Coordinator.
MetroStar hopes these events inspire the next generation of coders, creatives, strategists, and everything in between. Partnering with great organizations, like SB Code School, is a great way to introduce young girls to the field and build their confidence.
“The team at MetroStar was the perfect group to partner with on this program. The industry knowledge they brought really inspired the girls, and we can't wait for another opportunity to share how awesome working in tech is,” said Bulger.
These events and partnerships align with MetroStar’s Collaboration Action of Responsible Employees for Society (CARES) program and the organization's Women in IT groups.
The mission of CARES is that in order to power change in the technology industry, we must also empower those around us. MetroStar is deeply committed to providing services that inspire women to enter, grow, and thrive within the technology industry.
Learn more about partnering with MetroStar
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