College Success Foundation scholars from Evergreen were able to join Ingraham, South Lake, and Marysville Mountain View High Schools on Thursday, May 25th at Microsoft for a Coding Workshop and Game Development Panel. Our 25 girls were comprised of 23 of our 9th graders, an 11th grader, and a 3rd grader – my niece who was visiting me during the week of our field trip.
The students spent three jammed packed hours with these phenomenal women gaming developers from Microsoft, Minecraft, Halo, Xbox Live, Xbox Hardware. The event kicked off with an opportunity for the girls to dive right into a coding activity using Microsoft Small Basic to code the animation of a turtle. Each table of students had professional volunteers supporting them through the turtle tutorial. After going through the basics, girls shared out their animation creations to the crowd of over 100 attendees that day. The audience was quite impressed with the coding work of some experienced high school coders as well as students who quickly picked it up that day.
During lunch, students sat with Microsoft staff for more intimate question and answer sessions. It was a beautiful exchange of the girls’ experiences as students and professionals’ stories about their journeys to their technology careers. When we transitioned into the panel portion of the event, the girls were able to hear from both their peers and professional gaming developers. Students shared back that they appreciated being able to hear of the remarkable coding work that their peers are already engaging in as high school students. A stand out speaker for our students from the professional panel was Sarah Potter. She shared a wealth of knowledge of her work and had plenty of experience to back it.
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Overall, the event was a huge success. Students engaged in the hands on experience of coding with the support of professionals and also were able to showcase their work to their peers. The panelists shared the journeys they took towards their careers at Microsoft and it was inspiring to hear a variety of paths. The students really respected the unfiltered versions of the professionals’ experiences in the workforce. Some of them were fortunate to land jobs fresh out of college while others took a nontraditional path to their careers. The encouragement from panelists for students to pursue their goals and persevere over challenges along the way was a common thread. It was an added perk to also hear how financially successful careers in the technology field can be. I think we have some future coders among us!
After visiting Microsoft:
84% of the girls were MORE interested in a STEM degree or career
53% of the girls want to sign up for a STEM related course next semester
87% of the girls were inspired to work harder to attend college and further their education
- “I enjoyed the hands on coding and listening to the panel of women on their journey to technology careers.” – Trixia, 9th grade
- “It inspired me to see so many women working in the technical field.” – Gabriela, 9th grade
- “I enjoyed the speakers talking to us and saying how we need more women in the field because technology is changing every day.” – Kiara, 9th grade
- “I was inspired by how hard and how far these women have worked to get to where they are now.” – Addison, 9th grade
- “I learned that coding is easier than I thought. I was also inspired to study harder to attend college and continue my education.” – Layla, 3rd grade
- “Hearing their stories and experiences really inspires me to seek out more about coding/ technology/ internships.”- Judy, 11th grade
Report from: College Success Foundation at Evergreen Campus, Highline Public Schools