Microsoft Silicon Valley is pleased to once again host 20 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program students and their teaching team for 7 weeks here on our campus! It’s an honor to support a program which inspires, educates, and equips young women with computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities.
We’ve created a comprehensive summer program to enhance their Girls Who Code (GWC) learning experience which has included field trips and speaking engagements that have given them the opportunity to engage with Microsoft employees and innovations at a deeper, more intensive level.
Here are the highlights so far:
The first week of the program included a warm welcome and tour of our employee makerspace, The Garage, hosted by its resident Program Manager, the very popular Kenny Spade. This meant that the day they arrived they had the opportunity to experience a coveted hands-on Hololens demo!
Week two, the brilliant Sarah Kaplan, Principal Director on the O365 Team, presented to the group and shared her career journey, talked tech and encouraged a lively discussion and Q&A session.
Week three was the highly-anticipated field trip to the Microsoft/Yammer San Francisco office where they were hosted by the fab Cristina Fink and a lineup of tech experts: Cindy Alvarez – Principal Design Researcher (formerly Yammer UX Manager); Teny Shapiro – Data Scientist; Nicolette Yadegar – Software Engineer (Android); Taylor Burfield – Product Manager; Chantal Lewis – Software Engineer
After introductions, the girls were encouraged to lead the discussion based on what they were most interested in which included being a woman in tech, formal education verses work experience, work/life balance, and non-technical roles within tech. The day concluded with the girls asking questions tailored to individuals on the panel which really helped them with the courage to engage.
In week four, the girls got to really geek out and dive deeper into the Hololens technology with a presentation from Wes Tulshi, Manager, Systems Validation, and Elene Terry, Architecture Director. That week concluded with another field trip that took them to the Microsoft Store in Palo Alto where they were immersed in a Job Shadow experience allowing them the opportunity to learn about Microsoft as a business, a culture and as a career.
Upcoming week 5 will have a final presentation from Vishakha Mahajani who is a Software Engineering Manager and will speak on the importance of testing in software development. Perfect timing as they prepare for what is next.
Their schedule is then freed up for a week so they may focus on their final projects. Graduation is just around the corner on August 10th and it will be a celebratory event indeed! There will be presentations from the stage, a keynote address from Microsoft’s technical evangelist Christine Matheney, program certificates and “other gifts” will be awarded to the girls, they will showcase their final projects & poster boards – and we will eat and congratulate and share program memories. We are all looking forward to this special evening.