Teaching girls to code
During winter break of her sophomore year at Stanford, Aashna Shroff, ‘17, MA ’18, went back to her hometown of Hyderabad, India, and volunteered to teach a programming workshop for teenage girls. “When I was in high school, I chose computer science as an elective and I was one of only two girls in the class,” she says. “A lot of girls didn’t even know what computer science was.”
Her workshop attracted so many more than she could accommodate that she decided to do more. Back at Stanford she joined with two fellow CS majors to start Girls Code Camp in Hyderabad, a six-day summer program that has served about 800 middle and high school girls over the past three years.
Now a master’s student in the Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) program at GSE, she’s researching ways to use smartphones to teach computational thinking in low-income communities that have limited access to computers. She urges girls who are interested in programming to reach out and introduce themselves to someone in the field. “Some of the most meaningful advice I’ve gotten is from people I’ve found interesting and simply cold-emailed,” she says. “Tech is a world of people eager to share their advice.”