Who runs the world? Girls (Who Code)

by Adobe Life Team

Posted on 09-06-2017

5866 hours invested, 566 Adobe employee volunteers, 100 high school juniors and seniors, 7 weeks, 5 summer immersion programs, 5 teachers, and 1 goal: to close the gender gap in the tech industry.

This summer marks the fifth year that Adobe has partnered with Girls Who Code, a program dedicated to exposing young girls to the technology and computer science fields.

This summer, our San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, New York, and Emeryville offices welcomed 11th and 12th grade girls for nearly two months of full immersion in technology and educational workshops. While many companies host Girls Who Code programs, Adobe is one of the only tech companies that encourages its employees to step away from their day jobs to lead these classes.

“My team and my manager were very supportive,” said Amulya Kunati, San Jose teacher and F2P Marketing Testing & Optimization Analyst. “Initially, I was nervous, but my team provided me with guidance and teaching tips that ultimately helped make this summer successful.”

Coding with creativity

Over the first five weeks of their intensive summer program, the girls learned the basics of coding in multiple languages, exposing them to a breadth of new knowledge. What’s unique about Adobe’s approach to Girls Who Code is the tie-in with our company’s creative roots. While developing proficient coding skills was the primary focus, the Girls Who Code participants were taught to combine those skills with creativity to develop a final project that reflected their individuality. Each team pitched their final project at a closing graduation ceremony.

One of Suchita Nair’s teams in Emeryville created a website called Wonder Women using HTML and CSS, which paid tribute to all strong women in history. “The women they researched for the website had made an impact either in STEM or were trailblazers in their own right,” said Suchita. “They also made a three-part series adventure game highlighting these women, including Joan of Arc and Takeko Nakano, which took you back in time. You got a quick experience of how it would be to have lived in those times.”

Although it was an intensive seven weeks, there was plenty of fun to be had! The girls had the opportunity to meet with many of our leaders, including Shantanu Narayen, Donna Morris, and Cynthia Stoddard, just to name a few.

“I really appreciate how Ops Staff took time out of their schedules to meet with the girls and talk about their futures,” explained Amulya. “This was a very memorable moment for them. It’s great to see this level of support for the program across the company.”

“On Day 1, when I asked if they want to take computer science, hardly one or two girls raised their hands. When the last day came around, all 20 hands were up. Now they want to choose computer science. It means a lot to me that I could help them find a career path that they love.”

What’s more is many who found their passion for computer science through Girls Who Code spent their summer making a splash as Adobe interns!

“I had basic proficiency with JavaScript coming in, and this entire summer that’s all I’ve worked with,” said Sonia Uppal, Software Engineer Intern. Everyone on my team has been so helpful, and I can’t believe I’ll be leaving Adobe in a month having learned a completely new language, explored both front-end and back-end, and worked at the company that defined what it meant to be Creative.”. “Many companies will make their software engineering interns spend their summer only tackling little bugs in the code from years ago, or on one rather small scale task. I really appreciate that the Livefyre team has given me the ability to work on new code that is actually being pushed into production in regular sprint cycles.”

We want to recognize five of our outstanding employees who were nominated to lead the Girls Who Code programs this summer:

And of course, this summer could not have been successful without the help of all our Adobe TAs, mentors and volunteers. We thank everyone for the time and commitment they made to invest in the leaders of tomorrow.

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Topics: Adobe Life, #AdobeForAll, Adobe Culture, Brand