Summer Coding Experience Pleasantly Surprises High School Girls in Seattle

As a part of our Youth Coding Initiative, Adobe hosted 60 Girls Who Code (GWC) participants in three of our offices this summer. On Wednesday, we highlighted the accomplishments of the GWC Bay Area cohorts from the Adobe San Jose and San Francisco sites. Today, we spotlight our involvement in Seattle and New York and the program’s inspiring impact on the young women and Adobe employees alike.

Adobe Seattle

DSC_0959Small, but mighty.

This is the sentiment often echoed by students, staff and employees at Adobe Seattle, which launched its first GWC intensive early July. In the last month, the cohort has developed into a tight-knit community of 20 girls and passionate instructors.

“The vibe is driven a lot by the teacher and teacher assistants,” says Kiran Chitluri, quality engineer manager. Kiran has been coordinating Seattle-specific logistics for GWC alongside Tom Nord, lead quality engineer, and Todd Heckel, director of engineering. “They tend to be very enthusiastic and have high energy, and that rubs off on the girls.”

Twenty high school students make a considerable difference in the small office, he says, which has made the intensive even more of a site-wide effort. Prior to the start of GWC, numerous female employees volunteered to be mentors for the girls. Interns also joined the mix, helping with an internship/career panel and battling the group in a game of wiffleball.

“We’ve been interacting with the Adobe employees, meeting a lot of interns, and learning from so many different people and workshops. Going into this, I didn’t realize how fun hands-on coding could be,” student Antonee Harrell said.

Like other intensives, the group has followed a curriculum that covers different coding languages, robotics and design. The program also incorporates instruction on mobile app development and entrepreneurship, inspiring the girls to formulate and develop their own projects for graduation.

For her final project, Antonee decided to create a mobile application that streamlines class registration in public high schools – an issue she and her group have personally faced for years. Others, like student Elizabeth Viele, are planning to code a new game.

 I’ve really enjoyed this experience so far. I’ve learned so many things I didn’t expect to learn,” Elizabeth said. “While you are being introduced to a decent amount of technical experience, you get to learn about the business and social side as well.”

Throughout the summer, the group has creatively played around with media and Adobe technology in their workshops, including one on Seattle-based Character Animator and another on Adobe Premiere Clip. 

“Adobe is really unique because you’re making tools for artists, which then get combined with coding to create art or media,” Elizabeth said, elaborating on the intersection of art and creativity in the tech industry. “You can only get that experience here.”

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Adobe New York

Although Adobe didn’t host its own cohort in New York this summer, our site supported other GWC intensives through field trips and female mentorship.

On July 24, 40 girls participating in the Girls Who Code IAC Intensive and Moody’s summer immersion program toured the Adobe office in Times Square. The group tuned into a career panel with eight of our female leaders, in addition to learning about Adobe Slate and Voice through an interactive demo. After a grand tour, we hosted a networking event with other women in the industry.

Here are some insights the ladies had from their visit:

“Being in the heart of Times Square, learning about Adobe apps, and relating to the speakers was an incredible experience, and I will never forget it.”

“Start doing things now, even if you are young!”

“Careers aren’t straightforward. They can go in winding paths and down unknown roads.”

“A career isn’t a ladder – it’s a jungle gym. That’s always going to stick with me.”

“I left really wanting to go to a hackathon!”

Soo Song is a summer undergraduate intern, Corporate Responsibility and Adobe Youth Voices

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