Women’s Leadership

Dr. Angela Duckworth Brings Grit to Women@NERD

Dr. Angela Duckworth, MacArthur Fellow and New York Times bestselling author of the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, recently visited NERD to explain why this simple, yet powerful concept is the most significant contributor to high achievement. Hosted by Microsoft’s New England R&D leaders and the Women@NERD, Dr. Duckworth spoke to a room packed with more than 160 Microsoft employees and women in the Kendall Square High Tech Women’s Forum.

Grit is a measure of one’s perseverance through challenging work toward a singular passion. Dr. Duckworth emphasized that “however gritty you are today is not how gritty you may be tomorrow. Grit is something you develop and grow.”

One key to grit is understanding your interests and, ultimately, your purpose. Purpose links one’s efforts to the benefit of others.  It helps to provide that drive to continue despite the obstacles, failures and challenges along the way.

Grit also requires a growth mindset, where intelligence, talent and abilities are gained through an open, learn-it-all approach. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, fully embraces and encourages a mindset and workplace where employees continuously seek to improve. Dr. Duckworth says that she likes to follow Nadella’s  journey and talks “because he seems to enjoy sharing an element of his personal success: that anyone can learn and grow.”

Richard Barnwell, a Microsoft Partner Engineering Manager, said that his main takeaway from the day was, “how grit and growth mindset complement each other and reinforce the empowering message that our ability to be better is something we have significant control over.”

After the talk, Dr. Duckworth met with about 25 women and male allies from the Kendall Sq. High Tech Women’s Forum.  The women discussed how they needed grit to survive and then thrive in an industry where men often comprise 80 percent  or more of the workplace ,and where they are often the only woman on a project team. One female engineer commented, “I loved hearing confirmation and proof that hard work counts twice as much as talent or skill. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am today and pride myself on that ethic, but I often feel like an impostor because I still don’t always feel like I have the ‘talent’ which is what people too often give praise about.” Dr. Duckworth discussed that we love to call people “naturals” because we are attracted to that concept; however, we rarely see the hours of mistakes, failures and learnings it took for that person to get to where they are.  

One of the male attendees said, “I appreciated the fact that she put pictures in the presentation of women whose names I know but whose faces I didn’t recognize: Dr. Curie was perhaps the best example. While I know her work, I couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup. Something which I could do for many male scientists. It was a good reminder of some of my blind spots.”

At the end of the session, every attendee received a signed copy of Grit to continue their path of honing their passion and perseverance, and encouraging their colleagues to do the same.

Danielle Dean Honored by UMass with Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Here at NERD we have even more reason to celebrate beyond our 10-year anniversary #NERD10. Part of what we get to celebrate day in and day out is our amazing team. One example is Danielle Dean, a senior data scientist lead in the Algorithms and Data Science Group within the Cloud and Enterprise Division, and the most recent recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award by UMass Amherst.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association on alumni, faculty and friends. Recipients of this prestigious award have translated their UMass Amherst experience into distinguished achievement in the public, business or professional realms and bring honor to UMass Amherst and to their field of endeavor.

Danielle Dean received the award for her contributions in Data Science and her leadership of an international team of data scientists and engineers working on machine learning solutions. In honoring Dean, the UMass Alumni Association cites many of her accomplishments in the data science field, including her role as lead author of three major publications; co-author of the data science modeling book, Data Science with Microsoft SQL Server 2016; and a speaker at more than 20 conferences in the last three years, including keynotes at SQLbits and SQL Nexus, and a featured talk at Strata & Hadoop World Conference in Singapore in December of 2015.

During her time at UMass Amherst, Dean earned two bachelor’s degrees: the first in psychology with a minor in mathematics and statistics, and the second in organizational behavior through statistical analysis. Dean was a student researcher in Professor Linda Isbell’s Psychology lab. Dean’s data analysis work within the lab inspired her eventual study of Quantitative Psychology and Biostatistics.

I am incredibly honored to win the award and feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive community from my undergraduate and graduate schools as well as at Microsoft, which gave me many opportunities to learn and grow along my journey” says Dean.

“I feel fortunate to have had several amazing women mentors in my life who made me believe I could accomplish anything I set myself out to do,” Dean tells us, “from high school mathematics teachers to my undergraduate research professor Linda Isbell to my mother who studied computer science and moved into the big data field. As I have moved throughout my life, I have realized that others are not as fortunate to have so many role models and mentors directly accessible to them, and I want to do my part to fill that role for young women to whom it would benefit.”

Dean has leveraged this experience toward helping other young women through mentorship. She is an active advisor with Girls Who Code, a board member of Microsoft’s Women@NERD (New England Research & Development) resource group, and a career advice contributor through Microsoft’s Professional Data Science Degree Program.   

“My advice to young women who are interested in a career in data science would be to become curious about the world around you – how things work, how things are tracked,” says Dean. “Learn to work with many different types of people who have different interests and passions and come from different backgrounds than you, as they will give you unique perspectives and help you find who you want to become as a person. Never strive to be exactly like someone else but rather find what drives you and seek opportunities to push yourself.”

This isn’t the first time Dean has been recognized for her accomplishments. Previously, she’s received the UMass Amherst 21st Century Leaders Award, Senior Leadership Award, the LeBovidge Research Fellowship, and Psi Chi Regional Research Award.

 Congratulations Danielle and thank you for your contributions in data science and to women and others in this field!

#NERD10: Research Lab’s Interdisciplinary Approach Benefits from Region’s Intellectual Horsepower

2017 marks 10 years that Microsoft has hosted one of its Global Development Centers in Cambridge. The Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, fondly referred to as NERD, is celebrating its anniversary with stories and events year-round. Please join us in the celebration on the ground and online using #NERD10.

Jennifer Chayes, NERD Co-Founder

I’ve been here for most of the #NERD10 journey. Nine years ago, Christian Borgs and I co-founded Microsoft Research New England with the goal of establishing the lab as a leader in interdisciplinary research. To accomplish that goal, we’ve brought together computer scientists with researchers from the social sciences and facets of the biomedical sciences. Our work has included projects in areas such as economics, social media and health care, as well as more theoretical projects in areas such as cryptography, theoretical machine learning, mathematics and statistics.

When we established our lab, I knew Cambridge was one of the places in the world where this unique approach to interdisciplinary research could be most successful. The reason: Our lab’s proximity to so many world-class universities and access to such a large community of scientists.

But our ability to form tight bonds with the region’s academic and research institutions has exceeded even my initial, most optimistic expectations.

Through 2016, we’ve had more than 2,500 visitors to our lab here, including interns, and consulting and visiting researchers, with nearly 20 percent of these visitors coming from area colleges and universities.

From the very beginning, we wanted to establish economics as a key discipline within the lab, given that two of the top five schools for economics (Harvard and MIT) are in our backyard, along with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Since then, our economists have contributed to many strategic projects for Microsoft and the industry. A new project that I’m especially excited about is ALICE, a research project focused on incorporating artificial intelligence into economic decision making. This is a quintessential example of interdisciplinary research, as we’re bringing together economists and computer scientists specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve economic research while pushing the frontiers of AI development.

Christian Borgs, NERD Co-Founder

Another area where we’ve invested is our study of social media. We established the Social Media Collective in 2010 and it’s now expanded to our New York City lab as well. Locally, the team has expanded and now comprises such brilliant researchers as Mary Gray, Nancy Baym and Tarleton Gillespie, each of whom is doing fascinating work on how social media is affecting ethics, public discourse and the future of work. One reason for the team’s success: Our proximity to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.  The Social Media Collective started here with amazing work by danah boyd, who has gone on to found and be the executive director of the Data&Society Research Institute in New York City.

Still another area of pursuit has been biomedical sciences. One example is the amazing work by Jennifer Listgarten and Nicolo Fusi at the intersection of machine learning, computational biology and medicine. One high-profile project by these amazing researchers is the direct result of Jennifer and Nicolo becoming excited about working on the powerful gene editing tool CRISPR after attending a lecture given by John Doench, associate director of the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard. Jennifer, Nicolo, John and collaborators developed a system called Azimuth that uses machine learning to predict which part of a gene to target when a scientist wants to knock out, or shut off, a gene. The research team, which includes collaborators from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Washington University School of Medicine, published their findings earlier this year in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Machine learning is one of the hottest areas within the computing industry these days, and a focus within our lab as evidenced by our upcoming sixth annual New England Machine Learning Day that’s taking place on May 12 at NERD. The event brings together researchers and local academics, such as Tina Eliassi-Rad from Northeastern University, Roni Khardon from Tufts University and David Sontag from MIT, among others. This program is being chaired by Adam Kalai, whose work on biases in computer algorithms with colleagues at Boston University received popular press coverage within the past year from NPR, MIT Tech Review and other outlets. The day before our Machine Learning Day we’ll be holding the New England Machine Learning Hackathon: Hacking Bias in ML in partnership with colleagues from Harvard, MIT, Boston University and UMass Amherst.

More than 30 years ago, I did my post-doctoral work in mathematics and physics at Harvard, and came to appreciate just how intellectually exhilarating the Cambridge area can be. The work within our lab in recent years has only heightened my appreciation for the intellectual horsepower that exists here. It also has confirmed my belief that establishing a lab here focused on interdisciplinary basic research would benefit Microsoft, our industry and society more broadly. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible and I’m looking forward to the many great collaborations that will form in the decade ahead.

Jennifer Tour Chayes is Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012. These two laboratories are widely renowned interdisciplinary centers, bringing together computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists, social scientists, and biologists, and helping to lay the foundations of data science.

Working Forward: Shannon Felton Spence, Brown University Master of Public Affairs Candidate

I always knew I wanted to grow up to be a part of the bigger picture. It is a privilege to be part of a community, and the power of the human connection is what makes a society strong. I never wanted to have just a job. Rather, I want to lead a career of consequence.

Through my post-college years, I weaved my way through various mission-driven positions in Boston. Then, in 2013, I joined the public affairs department at the British Consulate General, Boston. As a lifelong anglophile and challenge-taker, I was excited to represent the British government in the town that’s famous for kicking it out. Truly a dream job! My role was to promote British culture and policy throughout New England. I spent much of my time talking to and learning from local organizations – both in the private sector and NGOs – as well as government.

The fabric of diplomacy is built on connecting with others and finding opportunity through partnerships. There is an understanding that no one has the resources to go it alone. Initiatives are stronger when the responsibility is shared. Collaboration also leads to greater innovation and creative solutions.

In the UK, private sector involvement in the greater good dates back over 100 years. In 2017, it is understood that participation in society is linked with an organization’s standard operations. The US has also come a long way in recognizing the opportunity that exists for the private sector to play a key role in community advancement. Tackling the challenges of the 21st century requires coordination across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.  

I left my job at the British Consulate to study for my Master’s degree in Public Affairs. I chose Brown University for its historic commitment to social justice through creative solutions. Through my courses, I’ve learned about smart policy design and data-driven decision making. When it came time to complete my consultancy, I could think of no better place than Microsoft. I wanted to explore the private sector lens on community engagement and responsibility.

With its mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft has demonstrated a real commitment to being part of civic solutions. Boston and Cambridge are hyperlocal cities with high levels of participation. There are so many people and organizations working toward a greater good. The Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement (TCE) team has expertly navigated this ecosystem to form meaningful partnerships and drive impact. I am fascinated by the way their work around innovation equity is enhanced by their commitment to collaboration within and across sectors. It is truly diplomacy in action.

Data for Good – Joining a Team Effort


“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

I was never much for team sports (I have lousy eyesight and scars from high school field hockey). But even football-obsessed coaches know that the world is better off when smart people with very different areas of expertise come together to tackle important problems. So I’m beyond thrilled to be joining the Board of DataKind because:

  • The DataKind staff are visionary about a new model to bring together different kinds of expertise to harness data science in the service of humanity, and they are creative and driven in refining and executing that model (see above image).  
  • The other Board members are smart, thoughtful people invested in helping a new organization innovate, succeed, and grow.  
  • The non-profits collaborating with DataKind on projects are dedicated to their missions and open to novel approaches to assessing challenges and interventions.  
  • The ecosystem of DataKind funders and subject matter experts bring a larger context on the systems, policies, institutions, tools, and research that shape where and how data science can contribute and how to integrate and scale the impact of DataKind projects.  
  • The DataKind volunteer network is a globally-distributed network of amazing, motivated individuals.  

DataKind’s website provides examples of what happens when DataKind catalyzes these elements into projects – from forecasting water demand during a drought to reducing injuries and deaths from traffic incidents or house fires to tailoring care for people with mental illnesses.  Learn about ways to get involved here.

This new year, I am grateful for the opportunity to become more deeply integrated into this ecosystem (team) and provide my perspective and skills however I can to help these organizations and individuals work together to make the world a better place.

Read more about Elizabeth’s board membership via DataKind.

“Now, How Can You Make It Better?” — Girls Who Code Empowering #WomenInTech


To me, #GirlsCan means there is nothing girls can’t do. It is not just a statement to prove that boys are not better than girls, or that girls can in fact do things. It is a statement that says, “Girls have, girls do, and girls will achieve amazing things, whether there are or aren’t obstacles ahead of us.”

My sophomore year of high school, the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani herself, came to my school — an all-girls school at that. She introduced us to her program, which we felt opened doors for us to explore limitless adventures as women in the field of tech. When I was a student in the GWC program, I was a part of the Twitter Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, also in Cambridge. I thought the energy, learning environment, people, ideas I was exposed to, and of course my teacher and teacher assistants were incredible. My teacher and her assistants, who seemed to answer all of my questions, then proceeded to ask me, “Now, how can you make it better?” These few words become a part of my philosophy as a student, and now a teacher assistant.

This summer our students, rising juniors and seniors in high school, are touching on topics like algorithms and encryption, and are plowing through programs like Scratch, Python, HTML/CSS and web design, JavaScript, and this week robotics and Arduino. After taking part in the program as a student, I was shaken by the possibilities that could become realities with the new knowledge at my fingertips. This was what lead me to understand why it is important to teach people how to code. In this day and age, with technology taking over anything and everything, learning to code is equivalent to understanding how to play with the building blocks of everything that could ever be created. The education of coding is important to learn because it is the base of almost everything that we use today. But with that, it is not just a skill, it is a thought process. It is not just languages to become fluent in, it is learning how to think of things in several different ways and using what is most advantageous within your given set of tools, and being efficient.

However, teaching women to code, specifically, is incredibly critical because we are underrepresented in the field. This may seem like just a number, but women represent more than half of the world and are shown to be less than half of the people that can use these building blocks coding gives us to change our world. A lack of representation is a lack of perspective, it is a lack of new ideas, and a limit to the change that can be created.

 FullSizeRender (3)Jasmine Hyppolite is a rising senior in high school from Providence, Rhode Island. She was part of the 2015 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Twitter and is now a teacher assistant for the 2016 summer program at Microsoft. She is planning to major in Computer Science in college and hopes to inspire students to do the same.

Voices of Change — Keeping Everyone Connected and Healthy

Diversity and inclusion are critical underpinnings to our evolving culture at Microsoft and powerful bridges to the marketplace. We are inspired by the local leaders who make diversity a priority in their daily work. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re honored to celebrate women in our community who are carrying out the mission of civic engagement, leadership and empowering other women.

— MSNE Staff

Sharon Gillett

As Principal Networking Policy Strategist at Microsoft, I am blessed to spend my time translating technology innovation into practice. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve got in a company of Microsoft’s scale to work on big problems. There is amazing work being done at Microsoft Research. I work with teams focusing on healthcare and internet connectivity, helping them bring that technology into the real world. We’re looking to overcome the barriers of policy, economics, and more to make sure everyone is connected and healthy.

I love solving problems, and there’s hardly any more powerful way to do that than through technology, because it’s such a fantastic tool. I started my career in networking; it was all about connecting people in new, different, and more efficient ways. There are still at least four billion people on this planet who are not connected to the Internet. I was interested in connecting people in new ways when I started my first job writing software for the ARPANET, and as long as there are still people left to connect, I’m still working on it.

Recently I’ve expanded my focus to healthcare, which is less about connecting people and more about using technology to help us live healthier and more productive lives. It’s also about a broader societal problem, which is making our healthcare system more efficient and productive. Having the opportunity to apply the skills I have to something that is so important to individuals, and that is beneficial to both society and our economy, is great. I like the idea that I’m helping Microsoft to do well by doing good.

Right now, I’m seeing two trends with women in healthcare. The first is about women working in healthcare. There are more women employed in healthcare than in technology. So what happens when you marry the two? I’m seeing efforts to boost the number of women CIOs in healthcare, for example — ensuring women are just as well represented in the technology aspects of medicine as in delivering care.

A second trend reminds me of the saying about “old wine in new bottles.” In this case, the old wine is the long-standing issue that women – and children and minorities for that matter – have too often been left out of patient cohorts for medical research, and if research isn’t done on a diverse group of patients, healthcare isn’t delivered well to all groups of people. The “new bottle” in this case is genomics. We’re seeing that when people do genomics research, if they don’t have a diverse data set, they get the wrong answers about, say, what a mutation means in the genome and whether it’s something rare or common. Some of our researchers have focused on statistical techniques that give more accurate results no matter what, and this kind of work is very important to patients of all genders and ethnicities.

Encouraging women to pursue careers in technology is an issue that is near and dear to my heart, and one on which I have two key thoughts. The first is one of simple economics: women need to be aware at a very early age that technology is already a major driver of the economy — and likely to become even more so in the future. What I’ve observed is that very bright women just don’t get exposed to coding. Microsoft has a lot of efforts to counter that, including supporting the Hour of Code through Code.org and other groups that are trying to bring coding specifically to young women. I think what needs to be said is that you’re not just coding because it’s cool; you’re coding because it’s a foundation of our economy and everybody needs to know it. There are different paths people can take based on code. You don’t necessarily have to become a software engineer, but you do need to know what code is all about, how it works, and understand enough about it to be in the industry.

The second key point is that young women need to understand that there’s bias everywhere, in every industry. That’s not unique to technology. It’s unique to human nature, and you need to prepare yourself for that. A lot of people go in naively, thinking, “It won’t happen to me,” or, “Things are different now.” Things are different now, but bias persists. It persists in different forms, and all over our society. We have to stop pretending that it’s not going to happen to us and we need to prepare ourselves. We need to expect it, learn how to deal with it, and learn to be a little tough to protect ourselves from the emotional drain it can take.

I learned to toughen myself by realizing that it’s not about me. This is not a personal thing, it’s a societal thing. If you take it personally, it’s easy to get bummed out. But if you can step back from that and realize that bias is everywhere, it becomes a little easier to deal with. Once you realize the problem isn’t something wrong with you, it becomes clearer that we all need to work to counter the effects of bias everywhere in society.

Being a leader in technology means looking ahead. It also means crossing boundaries. One of the things I’ve done for a long time is made myself hard to pigeonhole. And I mean that in a positive way! Most problems are not problems of just technology, or just politics, or just economics. They blend all of these elements, and we need to look through all of these perspectives to solve them. One thing that makes me impatient is when people say, “I have a great technology. It’s going to solve all of the world’s problems.” I would say it differently: “I have a great new technology. It has the potential to meet some people’s needs better than before, and let’s see how well it addresses other dimensions of their problems.” It’s easy to forget how important people and their social environment are to technology adoption. There are also economic dimensions and interests involved. We have to look at the full picture in order to understand how a technology can improve things.

That’s what leaders do. They integrate, they look across, they hear other people’s perspectives — they don’t look at things one-dimensionally. You need to have all of those perspectives if you’re going to accomplish meaningful change.

SharonGillett_HiResAt Microsoft Research, Sharon Gillett translates world-leading technologies into practice in the domains of healthcare, biomedicine, and Internet connectivity. Prior to Microsoft, her experience includes leadership positions in federal and state government, academic research and the technology industry.

As Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau at the US Federal Communications Commission, Sharon led staff work on network neutrality and achieved significant reforms to support broadband Internet access through the Universal Service Fund. As Massachusetts’ first Commissioner of Telecommunications and Cable and first Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, she spearheaded successful efforts to secure and deploy legislative funding to develop broadband access in underserved areas of the state. As a Principal Research Associate at MIT, she researched and taught telecommunications policy and directed an industry partnership program. As a software engineer, Sharon developed massively parallel text-mining software at Thinking Machines Corporation, and at BBN Communications, she wrote congestion control software for the ARPANET, precursor to the Internet.

Sharon earned a Sloan MBA and an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT, and an AB in Physics from Harvard.

Microsoft Retail Stores Celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week

This past week, we celebrated National Entrepreneurship Week at Microsoft retail stores throughout the New England region. Local Microsoft retail stores in Boston, Burlington, and Natick welcomed organizations from the budding Boston business community of start-ups.  The Microsoft stores add value and support by offering endless community engagement opportunities.  Early stage start-ups, serial entrepreneurs, and higher education students came together to share best practices and entrepreneurial experiences. Each event opened with a prominent keynote speaker followed by discussions directed at three or four carefully-selected panelists.

Microsoft stores host small business events to provide more opportunities for professionals to network and share resources. For example, in March, Microsoft retail stores will celebrate National Women’s History Month by holding a Business Mixer for Women Business Owners. During National Entrepreneurship Week, Microsoft promotes your entrepreneurial spirit to kick-start your business or get your idea up and running as a start-up! Most notably, the stores host daily events during National Small Business Week the first week of May. See you soon!

The Natick Mall, Burlington Mall, and the Shops at Prudential Center are home to three Microsoft store locations.  Along with Massachusetts, New England’s Microsoft stores are located in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

Lisa Casillo is a Community Development Specialist at the Microsoft store in the Natick Mall. We do it all! Business workshops and events – you’re covered. STEM programs and coding camps – we do that, too! The best part about being a Community Development Specialist is that there is no ONE part. We wear a lot of hats and love every minute of it!

Jennifer Chayes Receives Honorary Doctorate from Leiden University


Earlier this week, Jennifer Chayes, managing director and distinguished scientist of Microsoft’s New England and New York research labs, was honored by Leiden University with an Honorary Doctorate. It’s very rare that Leiden University bestows an Honorary Doctorate to an individual who isn’t a professor, but this news comes as no surprise to us, as Jennifer has excelled in her 20 years at Microsoft. As a leading researcher in the fields of statistical physics, stochastics and discrete mathematics, she has made major contributions to Microsoft — and to other female researchers inspired by her work and leadership. All of us here at Microsoft New England congratulate Jennifer on this honor.

Read more about Jennifer’s honor — and her achievements — on the Leiden University website.

Event Recap — DigiGirlz Day in Cambridge


On Friday, March 6th, Microsoft New England held our annual DigiGirlz Day at our Kendall Square office with 130 attendees, providing middle and high school girls with a better understanding of careers in technology.

We had a great day using Twitter (#DigiGirlzMA) and giving away fun prizes including a Surface raffle.

We started off the day with an inspiring Keynote from Lydia Smyers, Senior Director, US Education Marketing & Programs as well as an introduction to careers at the retail stores with Carin Kuehl, Human Resource Manager, Northeast Stores

Students were loving workshops featuring everything from Game Development with TouchDevelop taught by Eliza Mulcahy and Lisa Casillo from the Microsoft Store to an Hour of Code (Construct 2) with DX’s Gavin Bauman to a Social Media Workshop with Social Media Strategists and entrepreneurs, Lauren Metter, Lyssa Goldberg and team from Metter Media.  They also were excited to see our innovation in technology at the MTC’s Envisioning & Interactive Center with Hitakshi Nanavaty and Chad Gronbach.  At lunch, the girls also had a valuable Career Discussion with college interns from our campus Foundry program.

 “Our school began offering a programming elective last year and we found very quickly that the stigmas around computer programming young students have, especially girls, are real to them and sometimes hard to break,” said Adam Newall, Computer Programming/Math Applications teacher at Pembroke Community Middle School. “DigiGirlz was incredibly effective at showing our female students these are skills leading to an exciting future which is open to anyone.  To say they had a great time would be a tremendous understatement.  They loved every minute of the day from hearing other young women talk about the exciting careers in technology to trying their hand at making a game.  The group of girls who went have been talking about it nonstop!”  

“The girls had an awesome day,” said Sasha Lu, Associate Director of Program Collaborations at the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA. “They asked if they could live here.”    

Special thanks to others involved in helping to make our event a success: Allison Knight, Erin Beauregard, Jessica Borislow, Aster Hishe, Jenn Kwiatkowski, George Matthews, and John Harlow.