Congratulations to the Microsoft Girls Who Code Class of 2017!

| Donna Abrusci

Sisterhood – that was the theme of our class this summer and it is so true. In spending time with our class, you can feel the sisterhood between them, an amazing group of young ladies, I am so proud of them. It has been an absolute privilege to host these 20 young ladies in our Microsoft 11 Times Square office. Kudos to our teaching team of Remina Greenfield, Abigail Miller and Arabia Simeon, they have done an outstanding job in teaching our coders and in creating a sense of community amongst.

It certainly has been a fun summer, the girls experienced several exciting field trips, at one of which they were served Shake Shack burgers for lunch! Their very first field trip was right in our 11 Times Square office, a visit to our Microsoft Technology Center. The visit to the Microsoft Flagship store provided the girls the opportunity to experience HoloLens and a visit to the Mixer Studio. During the Flagship store visit I asked one of the teachers if some of the girls knew each other before starting the program as they seemed so close.  Turns out, none of them knew each other prior. That is when I noticed the community that was created — I was impressed, to say the least.

On Thursday, August 17, 2017, the evening of their graduation, our Microsoft guest speaker, Aisha Davis, Microsoft Technical Account Manager, had the most exciting part of the event, to announce to the students, and their teachers, that they all get to keep the Surface Pro devices they each used during the 7-week program. They also received a full version of Microsoft Office. Such a fun announcement! The news was received with excitable laughter and a round of applause. You can check out the announcement here — be sure to turn the volume on.

As part of the graduation ceremony, the students presented their final projects in front of their families and friends that they worked on during the last two weeks of the program. They were busily setting up the room and practicing their project pitches before the guests arrived. I was deeply impressed on the subject matters that these young ladies touched upon. The titles of the projects were:

  • Adulthood:  The Game
  • BETA Water Project
  • Happily
  • NYConnect
  • S.A.F.E. on Campus
  • Stress Break
  • World Poverty

I know our teaching team and coders all have bright futures ahead of them and this experience, they will carry with them, always. This really stays with you.  For me, Microsoft provides the privilege to partner with Girls Who Code and each involvement of hosting a class stays with me. The hope, excitement and wonderment that I see in each of these young ladies is uplifting. I heard some of the girls say that they have made friends for life through this program. I truly believe that. It was an honor to know them and be a part of their program this summer. These girls are, and always will be, a sisterhood.

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Donna Abrusci

Donna Abrusci is a Business Program Manager covering Operations and Philanthropic related activities in the New York Metro region. In June 2016 Donna reached 21 years with Microsoft. Donna’s role is quite diverse which allows her to work across a variety of business groups therefore offers her the ability to know many of the Microsoft employees in the New York and New Jersey area. Donna and her team work with varying non-profit organizations, including but not limited to, Girls Who Code, City Year New York and We Connect The Dots.