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1871 Community Shares Support for Youth STEM Programs During Computer Science Education Week

You can’t spell “teach” without t-e-c-h. At 1871, our members are driven to give back to the community. During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 5 - 11), we were inspired to see the successful graduation of 1,000 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, including here in Chicago, from the Capital One C1 Coders Program, which encourages students during the 10-week program to explore careers in software development and science, technology, education and math.  

As part of our own efforts to highlight ways the 1871 community gives back (#1871gives), we reached out to our members to see the youth STEM education programs they support.

Jessica Williams, 1871 WiSTEM program co-facilitator

In April, I was asked to keynote Cisco’s Girls in IT Day, which is celebrated every year on International “Girls in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Day.” I shared with them my journey, growing up on the west side of Chicago with a single grandmother and how a high school internship at a technology company exposed me to a technology career path in the world of Cisco networking and wireless.

Later in June, five girls who participated the most on Girls in IT Day had the opportunity to visit 1871 and learn more about the work that we do here.  The girls were able to talk to other women on the team and learn more about their jobs. Some of them immediately asked for internship opportunities or said that they wanted to work here. I loved participating because I love showing young girls and women that there is more to a career in tech than just coding, and how it has become a huge part of every industry.

Monique Wingard, Social Media Associate

A great organization working to close the diversity gap in tech is the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). While I am certainly not an engineer, I do support the efforts of the dynamic men and women who represent the organization and continue to exhibit leadership in their fields.  

A friend and fellow Black Girls Code team member made me aware of NSBE's youth STEM education efforts, and I got involved. I had the honor of volunteering for Chicago Discover Engineers Week as a speed networking mentor and co-facilitator of team building workshops with students ranging in age from 7 to 17.

I support organizations like NSBE to help change image and narrative of women in tech.

Rachel Portell, founder of Taylored Wines, a WiSTEM cohort program company

Girl Scouts is about so much more than camping and cookies now. Since getting more involved in The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (I’m now on the board of directors) a few years ago, I've been blown away by the opportunities they present to girls of varied interests including STEM and entrepreneurship.

They have robotics programs, Journey World which allows girls to create businesses and save a city, STEM badges, coding classes, Camp CEO and more. I have seem them inspire girls of all ages, all the way through high school, to pursue their STEM and business passions, and love that they help enable girls to "embrace and celebrate scientific discovery in their lives." It's powerful to see, and to be a part of.

Stella Ashaolu, Founder and CEO of WeSolv, a WiSTEM cohort program company

Brave Initiatives is a great organization that helps young girls learn to code with project based curriculum.  I support Brave Initiatives by volunteering with their co-founder, Jen Kamins, in strategy and connecting her to resources in the community. I am also looking forward to volunteering at the next camp.

The Gray Matter Experience is a startup focused on connecting diverse high school students to tech entrepreneurship. The program is great because it allows these students to create real businesses and pitch for funding. The majority of the participants were black girls and all received funding for their business. I volunteer with the organization as a mentor because it is important for kids of color to see adults working in a space that is not traditionally seen as accessible to us. I was a mentor for kids during the last cohort and look forward to working with them in the future.

Kaitlin Reimann, co-founder of uBack, a WiSTEM cohort member company

Inspire Girls Academy is a wonderful organization with a big mission to help young students with STEM, and Maker Girl is an organization that helps teenage women.

My support of IGA is primarily through uBack, and donating to them when appropriate. Shalini, who leads the organization with her sister, is a rockstar! We meet regularly and uBack is always looking for ways to highlight STEM non-profits in our community events, like Giving Tuesday.

I was introduced to Maker Girl through a friend and was impressed by Lizzy, their Executive Director, and their mission. I support them by trying to connect them to other opportunities in the community, like tours of 1871 tours, and other community leaders who may be helpful!

Topics: Community