Overheard This Summer at AT&T Offices

“Today was pretty cool! We learned about circuits and I feel like the more time we spend with robots the more I will like it! ” — Thailiya T., Los Angeles

Doesn’t sound like typical water cooler chatter, does it? That’s because AT&T is hosting 134 high school girls in six of its offices this summer. The girls are participating in Girls Who Code’s Summer Immersion Program, a 7-week program for rising 11th and 12th grade girls to learn coding and get exposure to tech jobs.

Spend one hour talking with these girls and you will be blown away by their curiosity, gratitude, boundless enthusiasm, and deep interest in what it is like to be a woman in tech. Our future is bright with these young ladies leading the way!

Like any new skill, learning coding and computer science takes practice.

“Society often imposes this belief that talent is natural and unattainable through hard work which is completely false. Girls Who Code has taught me that in a world full of opportunities there are also endless possibilities through hard work and dedication.” — Debby E., Los Angeles
“You can never say you can’t do something, or you’re bad at something, because with practice you can pass your expectations. Everyone needs practice to become great, all you have to do is put in the work.” –Spicer L., Washington, DC
“Giving up is never the answer; there is always a way.” — Ayanna J., Los Angeles

Learning to code is also helping them develop a growth mindset and persevere through challenges. It opens up new opportunities and new ways of thinking no matter what your interests are.

“I thought coding was so hard and so boring when the GWC people were telling us about how fun it is. I didn’t believe them, but I love coding, and I’m actually good at it! […] It is so satisfying; when it works out you feel so accomplished!” — Aisha J., New York
“I personally think that you shouldn’t rule coding out even if you have different interests at the moment. Learning to code can help you merge creativity and logic, and even if you don’t end up going into coding as a career it’s always a useful tool. Plus it’s super interesting.” -Mariyah D., Redmond
“I signed up for girls who code because I think coding is a valuable skill that will only become more important as time goes by and I wanted to be able to have some say in what I did on computers and know how they work” — Cypress L., Austin
“Coding is super fun, and you can use coding in any field you want to go into” — Brooke M., Los Angeles

The participants not only get first-hand experience in a corporate environment, but they also make lasting friendships and build their community. Girls Who Code and AT&T are helping ensure those relationships last through Girls Who Code’s Alumni Network.

“The coolest thing that I’ve experienced so far from GWC are tightly bonding friendships spurred from partner projects, group activities, and a welcoming heart that everyone seems to have towards one another.” — Jisook M., Redmond
“Girls Who Code has been a great experience for me. Not only did I get experience programming languages such as scratch, python c++, html, and javascript, but also I got to meet a fantastic group of girls who share the same interest as me in technology.” — Radha P., Atlanta

Girls Who Code’s ultimate mission is closing the gender gap in technology. This aligns with AT&T’s work to encourage more young women to pursue STEM fields. Based on these girls’ experiences, they’re definitely making an impact.

“I have been interested in coding for a while, and searched vigorously for some kind of coding class. My school offered a [computer science] class, but unfortunately, it was too full for me to join, and not surprisingly, full of boys. This was incredibly disappointing since I knew a lot of my female friends were also denied this classroom experience, but Girls Who Code offered a perfect alternative.” — Naomi P., Los Angeles
“The coolest thing about the program so far is knowing that there’s a diverse community of girls in the computer science field that I can come back to with Girls Who Code. Since the computer science field is male dominated, it’s encouraging to have this empowerment! […] If I could tell something to other girls who want to code, it’d be to just go for it! Try coding confidently and don’t let stereotypes or people discourage you. As long as you believe in yourself and your capabilities, people’s expectations of your skill won’t matter; it’ll feel nice to prove those who doubt you wrong.” — Bethany K., Redmond
“Not only does learning how to code allow [girls] to have way more opportunities, but also it makes them pioneers in rewriting the narrative for the future of women! In a way, if a girl learns how to code, they are automatically a major part in impacting the future of an entire gender.” — Marlene G., Los Angeles
“I would tell other girls who want to code that you are able to do whatever you put your mind to, you ARE qualified, you are no imposter, and do what makes you happy, not society.” –Anitra G., Washington, DC
“The most surprising thing I have experienced so far was seeing how nice and welcoming the tech world is to new programmers. AT&T has demonstrated how welcoming the tech community is.” — Madison T., Los Angeles

These young women are eager to learn and have lots to teach! How will you support them and welcome them to your workplace?