Nationally, women represent 34% of medical doctors, 19% of the US Congress and only 15% of executive officers, even though women earn 60% of the college degrees awarded each year. In the 21st century, Notre Dame San Jose is committed to growing women’s leadership and engagement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) and graduating young women who will change those statistics. One example is Riana Karim ’17, who is passionate about computer science. In addition to serving as president of the Girls Who Code Club on campus this year, she was invited to speak at Intel’s inaugural Education Visionaries program.
The Intel® Education Visionaries program is comprised of an elite group of education leaders who will be exemplars for global education transformation; inspire and share best practices with educators, administrators and parents worldwide; and help Intel design the future of education technology. The Visionaries come from all over the world and represent a diverse mix of cultures. They all share Intel’s passion for empowering student success through the integration of technology and curriculum.
“I was contacted by Intel to speak about my experiences with Girls Who Code at Intel this summer, where I spent seven weeks learning how to code and building various computer science projects and applications,” explained Riana. “I was invited to serve on a student panel with an audience of about 70 educators from around the world who wanted to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom and into learning.”
As part of her presentation, Riana explained the app she built over the summer. “I had an idea for a game that would teach the user how to code. The game had to be informative, fun, and engaging but, above all, I wanted the game to appeal to girls. Most computer games nowadays specifically target boys. My group was able to finish a working version of the game in the allotted two weeks. Essentially the premise of our application involved a female main character who gets sucked into a computer and must use various coding skills to navigate her way through the cyber world. Overall, I was very proud and surprised at what I was able to build, considering I had very little coding experience prior to the program.”
“I was excited to share details and answer different questions about my summer and what learning methods appealed the most to me in regards to computer science topics. I also spoke about Notre Dame’s Girls Who Code Club and the exciting things that we are learning and working on this year.” The club has two adult mentors this year – Michaela Guiney, who is the product engineering director for Cadence Design Systems and Doron Katz, technical project manager for TCL America. Eight of the 18 members of the club recently visited LinkedIn where, after a tour, they spoke with a group of women who work in engineering and computer science – engineers, designers, coders and a project manager. The Lean In Foundation was also on hand to encourage the girls to participate in their latest circle for high school girls interested in computer science and engineering, a joint venture between Lean In, Facebook and LinkedIn.
In addition to the STEAM Speaker Series, Notre Dame has the second annual all-school Hour of Code on December 2.