Cyber Empower

A Peacemaking Project by Isha R.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Less than 20% of jobs in technology are held by women and even less are held by technologists from historically underrepresented backgrounds. This issue is becoming increasingly crucial to address as the lack of diversity in technology can have severe repercussions on the future of technology. Whether it is bias in AI, or technology made for the female demographic that fails to meet their needs, acknowledging and taking action to increase female and minority representation is vital. The low representation of women and people from historically underrepresented backgrounds in computer science is rooted in the belief that computer science is for males only. This misconception begins at an early age, when potential computer scientists are in elementary or middle school. It is at this age when students learn about different career paths and leaders in the industry. If women and minority leaders in tech are kept out of the picture, girls and students from these backgrounds will not even consider pursuing computer science because they cannot envision themselves in the field. There are incredible women and minority leaders in computer science, we simply need to recognize and celebrate them as a community.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of lack of representation of women and other minorities in technology
we will address the misconception that they do not belong in the field
by increasing computer science education among middle school girls and minorities in computer science.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • We will empower 50 students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in technology by providing a welcoming environment in the form of a summer camp where they not only learn computer science fundamentals, but collaborate with others to develop real solutions to problems they face in their communities.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

I will increase my compassion by not being close-minded about who I accept and offer this opportunity to any individual who comes from a historically underprivileged background or underrepresented background in technology.

How will you show courage?

I will show courage by sticking with a student and helping through questions they have, no matter how difficult the concept they are learning is.

How will you collaborate with others?

I will collaborate with other high school students to lead and instruct the camp, and hopefully reach out to other organizations working to increase access to computer science education such as TransHack.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I will know I am moving in the right direction if I see that students are excited to come a learn each day. I will know this if they are actively working on the projects with their group to develop solutions to problems they face as well as informally survey the clase to speed up or slow down on certain concepts. I will also measure it by seeing how active they are whether it is asking questions or collaborating with one another.

Key Steps

  • Reach out to schools and community programs for participants.
  • Reach out to companies for guest speakers and finalize the list.
  • Finalize list of participants. Give any necessary waivers to parents.
  • Meet with instructors for a training to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Purchase any snacks or other materials for the camp.
  • Welcome students to the camp.
  • Closing remarks/ending celebratory showcase for the campers, family, and friends.
  • Send a survey out to collect student and parent feedback about the process and provide resources they can use to continue their journey.

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

We were able to interact with the students from various backgrounds and understand their approach to computer science and why they were interested in learning it. Through establishing connections with the campers, we learned to design creative-entry points to tailor the content to each individual learner.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

We were able to inspire over 50 students and give them coding skills to tackle problems they were interested in. Through guest speakers, we helped provide information on how they could use CS in a potential career.

How many people were impacted by your project?

60

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

Number of students we reached (50)+ 10 of our wonderful high school instructors and team!

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

Having firsthand experience dealing with this injustice, I was able to contribute my experiences, but we also were able to connect with other middle/high school students who did not feel comfortable in traditional coding spaces.

What did your team learn?

We learned that our students had brilliant ideas about how to explore their interests with code--they were just shy at first to share and implement them! Through regular conversation, we allowed them to be the driving force to completing their projects and achieving their goals.

What challenges did your team overcome?

One challenge that we faced was dealing with a wide range of skillsets in the classroom. In order to approach this situation, we had the mentors break off and focus on a couple of students each so that each student could get the help that they needed and the class was not too slow/fast.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

I have involved others through the Cyber Empower team where we share ideas with how to continue the project in the future. We also continued dialogue with TIBCO who helped us with logistical details for the camp.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

My advice for someone starting a peacemaking project is to reach out to other people! I had many of my friends and classmates join me in making this possible, and it made the experience more fun and allow us to reach more students! We also contacted guest speakers which helped the students see different potential careers!

Our Updates:

Working on designing t-shirts!

Isha R.
19 June 2019 0:11
Working on designing t-shirts for the students to see if it is in budget!

Sent waivers to parents that signed up their students!

Isha R.
19 June 2019 0:55

Supplies

Isha R.
14 July 2019 0:38
Supplies that were ordered are starting to trickle in!

Working Hard!

Isha R.
27 August 2019 20:30
Cyber Empower campers working together on a Python program!

Guest Speaker!

Isha R.
27 August 2019 20:31
A guest speaker from Google inspires the students to consider computer science careers!

Young minds at work!

Isha R.
27 August 2019 20:32
Our young scholars work hard to solve the bugs in the code and learn about coding!