Working Together for Change and Mutual Benefit: Black Girls Code

Working Together for Change and Mutual Benefit: Black Girls Code

By Jay Alexander, Chief Technology Officer

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Last month @BlackGirlsCode carried out a virtual Hackathon, drawing participants from California’s Bay Area, Detroit, and New York. Upward of 100 girls participated, along with roughly the same number of mentors, including @Keysight employees: https://bit.ly/3ln62IK
Monday, November 30, 2020 - 10:45am

CONTENT: Blog

As other posts on this blog make clear, Keysight has strong values around the importance of STEM education and inclusion & diversity. The world needs more technical professionals to address current and future challenges and opportunities, and diversity contributes to better business outcomes and cultivates more just and equitable societies. Keysight’s employees demonstrate our values in ways large and small, globally and locally, individually and collectively. The outlets are many, and in keeping with our commitment to innovation, we are always on the lookout for new ways to make an impact that complement our more established engagements.

One of the things that always gets us excited is helping young people learn about technology. Recently Keysight teamed up with Black Girls Code (BGC), an organization pursuing a powerful vision in fun new ways.  Here’s the statement of their vision:

BGC Vision: To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. To provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.

“Our partnership with Keysight will further advance Black Girls Code’s mission of pushing equity in STEM for girls and women of color forward,” said Anesha Grant, Ed.M.  Director of Education & Alumnae Programs. “When it comes to driving change, it takes a village. Through collaborative efforts, like those led by BGC and Keysight, we can shift the narrative and empower the next generation of change agents who will use technology to better their communities and the world.”

Over a weekend last month BGC carried out a Hackathon, a virtual one due to the pandemic, drawing participants from California’s Bay Area, Detroit, and New York. Upward of 100 girls participated, along with roughly the same number of mentors, two of whom were Keysight employees based in Santa Rosa, California.

During the event, the girls learned about various software development tools such as Figma and Appery, received coaching on presentation skills, and heard from guest speakers such as Gabrielle Union. And of course, they did some coding and prototype development too.

Here are some quotes from our Keysight mentors on their experience:

  • “I was impressed with the Black Girls Code organization. Setting up this worldwide, virtual event with inexperienced teenagers, first-time mentors, and completely new remote collaboration tools was a huge challenge, but they pulled it off.”
  • “I think it was a great event for the girls. They learned a lot and gained an appreciation for how fun it is to code with a team.”
  • “It was an awesome, intense, inspiring weekend for me. I think the girls would say the same.”

The last one summed it up well and made me smile. So, this was a great new outlet we plan to continue with as part of our commitment to living our values on STEM, inclusion & diversity, education, innovation, giving back, and yes, having fun too.

Wishing everyone continued health and safety as we look toward the conclusion of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.