L-R: Dr. Heather Culberston, Dr. Naomi Fitter, Libby Boroson and Glory Kanes (screen)
Women Who Code panel with moderator Rebecca Beiter (right)
We are increasingly coming to recognize how much representation matters in STEM. When youth see adults who look like them doing interesting work, it’s easier for them to imagine themselves embarking on similar journeys. And because STEM careers and research have traditionally been associated with men, women who love computer science may sometimes find themselves a bit isolated in CS classrooms or online coding communities.
That’s why we were so eager to learn from the tech experts who participated in the Women Who Code panel held on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Held in the newly opened Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, this event was put on in conjunction with USC Marshall School of Business and its partnership with Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit that seeks to close the gender gap in technology.
Rebecca Beiter of USC Viberbi Admissions moderated the panel of four coders, which was headed off by Glory Kanes, a Girls Who Code alumna and rising sophomore in Computer Science and Business Administration at USC Viterbi. Joining Glory were: Libby Boroson, a Ph.D. Candidate in Professor Nora Ayanian’s Automatic Coordination of Teams (ACT) lab; Dr. Naomi Fitter, a Postdoc in Professor Maja Mataric’s Robotics Research lab; and Dr. Heather Culbertson, Professor of Computer Science at USC Viterbi. These women drew upon their unique perspectives and skills as they advised the packed audience of SHINE students and the current Girls Who Code cohort.
To paraphrase panelist Glory Kanes, there is nothing quite like the network of support she has received as Girls Who Code alumnae. And the current cohorts of SHINE and Girls Who Code saw just how much a sense of community factors into achieving individual success in computer science fields. Whether that sense of community is forged through a shared gender identity or simply a love of coding, our technological future is better served when diversity in tech is not only valued, but celebrated.