Glory Kanes (center, red USC sweatshirt) with GALA students.
Receiving a gift is always nice, but getting one that is fun, inspiring, and focused on your passion is even better. USC Viterbi first-year student Glory Kanes gave a copy of the new Girls Who Code books to each of the high school students at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) she had met when volunteering at VAST's Code Dojo during National Computer Science Education Week last month. Glory is not only an alumna and ambassador of Girls Who Code, she is actually featured in the book for the Career Couture game she created. Her mother, Susan Valentine Kanes, is the one who gifted the books to the GALA girls, being proud of her daughter's achievements in the nonprofit tech empowerment program for girls. Most important to Mrs. Kanes and Glory is the opportunity to encourage inner city girls in their passion for coding and computer science.
At the visit, Glory talked to the girls about her journey with computer science – from getting interested through the Girls Who Code summer immersion programs in summer 2015 to being an intern for Girls Who Code the following summer, and now majoring in computer science at USC Viterbi and volunteering at events that encourage more young girls to pursue engineering. The girls also had the opportunity to ask her questions as well as explore their new books.
GALA's high school students and their teacher, Mr. John Landa, were excited to see the book's illustrations featuring a diverse group of girls. Especially impressive to a hijab-wearing GALA student was the character of Leila, shown in the image below. "I've never seen a character in a book like this who looks like me," she told Glory.
Glory also walked the girls through an exercise based in the book about programming conditional statements, a concept that comes up over and over again in computer science. Afterwards, Glory led a workshop on the Girls Who Code summer 2018 immersion program application. The class discussed what each of the three Girls Who Code values meant to each of them: Bravery, Leadership, and Sisterhood. They also watched the TedTalk of Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, about the need to teach young girls to be brave instead of perfect.
Fortunately transformative programs like Girls Who Code and role models like Glory Kanes help loosen the burden of perfection that stops many women from exploring new areas of empowerment and self-expression. Thank you Glory and Mrs. Kanes!
Published on January 30th, 2018
Last updated on March 27th, 2018