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Girls Who Code Goes Virtual with Blizzard

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Blizzard Entertainment
06-07-2020 17:00:00

We are proud to partner with Girls Who Code (GWC) for their Summer Immersion Program for the third year in a row, and this year, even a pandemic couldn’t stop us! Girls Who Code is an educational non-profit organization with a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like. To help achieve this, they offer programs for girls and engage students from historically underrepresented groups via clubs, university-level networks, and their Summer Immersion Program for rising 10-12th grade girls—which is where we come in!

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the program went virtual this year with an intensive two-week experience. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack kicked off the program and welcomed our 26 students who were part of the Blizzard cohort.  Students learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which culminated into a final project showcase where students shared website projects.

The students used skills they learned to build websites that raise awareness, inspire action, or share resources around a cause they are passionate about. Some of the causes include mental health, social justice, and the environment. Throughout the program, women from across Blizzard joined the virtual classroom to share career insights, host Q&A sessions, discuss mentorship, and provide feedback on the girls’ on their final website project.
 

A collage of student websites covering topics such as wildlife protection, women in STEM, mindful tourism, and social justice.

“I found the girls' questions and attitudes about mentorship to be brave and challenging.  It was an honor to work with them,” said senior software engineer Aimee Pi. “As somebody who struggled with feelings of exclusion earlier in my own tech career, I later witnessed how powerful it is to feel like you belong to something. Programs like this provide aspiring generations of technologists and leaders with not just knowledge and support, but has also given these girls the community and confidence to get out there and unabashedly pursue jobs in tech.”

This sense of community—the building of sisterhood—is core to the GWC philosophy. “I actually think that the coding experience is secondary to the community aspect of the program,” said software engineer Brooke Ryan, “because when you're starting out in college, it can be really hard to find that same sense of camaraderie, especially for underrepresented groups like women and people of color.”

“It made me happy that I was able to pass down my learning experiences to the girls to help prepare them for the future and answer the questions they have now,” said associate software engineer Jasmine Hurst. “We need to foster all the talent that girls bring to each part of the world, including the tech and game world.”

Upon the girls' graduation, Blizzard employees who participated in the program sent the students messages to encourage them on their journeys. 
 

Rachelle is smiling, holding a handmade sign which says "Be the girl who decided to go for it!"Brittany is smiling, holding a handmade sign which says "Live boldly, push yourself, don't settle."Kamini is smiling, holding a handmade sign which says "Forget the reasons why it won't work and believe the one reason why it will."

Congratulations to all the girls for graduating! To see more about our partnership with GWC, check out our recap video from last year's program. To learn more about Girls Who Code, visit their website, and stay up-to-date with their incredible work on Twitter and Instagram.

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