In college and during her career, Kimberly Bryant often found herself the only black female scientist in the room. The biotech engineer founded the Bay Area non-profit Black Girls CODEin 2011 so that today’s young girls will never find themselves in that position. Bryant realized that it wasn’t a lack of interest in science that led to a dearth of diversity in her field; it was a lack of access. Black Girls CODE’s goal is to drive access and exposure, closing the digital divide.
Black Girls CODE introduces young girls of color to computer programming, mobile app development, robotics and other STEM fields, so the girls can learn how to build the tools they want to see in the world. The non-profit is a global organization, with chapters in Oakland, Calif., Atlanta, New York and even South Africa, with expansion to eight more cities planned for next year. Every chapter targets girls of color between the ages of 7 and 17, formative years for capturing the girls’ interest in STEM and building their self-confidence.
“Science is magic, and our girls are opening their eyes to the fact that they can learn to become the magicians,” says Bryant, who launched the company with a class of 12 girls.
But the reach of Black Girls CODE has grown exponentially in two years; the roster now exceeds 2,000 girls. Bryant was named one of the White House’s Champions for Change in the tech sector, and Black Girls Code was named one the “2012 Most Innovative Nonprofit.”
Watch the video above to hear about Black Girls CODE, learn some mindblowing facts about STEM and meet some of tomorrow’s most promising engineering talent.