We spoke in front of 12,000 people.
In retrospect, we were only up there at the 2017 InterConnect main stage for about 6 minutes. But for three high-school girls like us who, up until a year prior, literally did not know how to code (let alone figure out the beautiful complexities of IBM’s Bluemix platform), it was pretty amazing. Coding is amazing. And when we stood up there with Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani (Ginni Rometty herself surprised us with internships), coding proved itself to be a gateway for opportunities to create extraordinary things and collaborate with people who are just as motivated as we are to make this world a better place.
It all began with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code (GWC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology by partnering with companies around the United States to teach girls how to program. The three of us met at the GWC Summer Immersion Program at IBM Silicon Valley Labs, where we spent seven weeks of our summer discovering the world of coding. In our class of 20 girls, we were introduced to several coding languages, such as Java and Python, and courses like robotics and design thinking. Our final project, BlueShop, was an application developed on IBM’s Bluemix platform with the intent to help shoppers by using stores’ social media to compile relevant coupons and discounts.
After our Summer Immersion Program ended, though, we got to present our final project to an even wider audience at the Watson Developer Conference in San Francisco. In a 20-minute flash talk to a packed conference room, we showcased how we utilized Watson in our project and discussed our experience with Girls Who Code at IBM. It was exciting to show people what we’ve done with Watson, but little did we know that this would be a stepping stone to something even greater.
This past February, we were surprised with email invitations to speak at InterConnect, IBM’s annual conference with its business partners to discuss the progress and future of the company. Thrilled, we packed our bags and flew out to Las Vegas for what would be an incredible experience. Looking back on it, speaking with Ginni and Reshma was definitely the major highlight of our trip, but we also really enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many people passionate about using technology and Watson to create change. Now, we hope to share that same passion to create change during our internship.
Stay tuned to hear more about our daily lives at IBM! Talk to you guys soon 🙂
Learn more about Girls Who Code
- IBM and Girls Who Code: Off and running for 2017 with our Summer Immersion Programs
- Changing lives at the Girls Who Code summer camps
- IBM and Girls Who Code Partner to Advance Cognitive and Data Science Opportunities for Girls