By: Mariana Hernandez, Give Back scholar

From the moment I received the email congratulating me on having been accepted to the Girls Who Code program in Chicago, I was so enthusiastic about being exposed to the wide field that is Computer Science. From the beginning, the program was fast paced, but also an eye-opener.

Before this program, I took technology for granted because I had no idea how much programming went into our everyday devices, nor did I think about how difficult and time-consuming the process is. Coding is a continuous cycle of trial and error until the program runs the way you intend. Apart from partaking in the mental exhaustion that coding entails, I’m proud to say that through different bonding activities and group projects, I have made friends that I hope to stay in contact with for a long time.

My favorite part of the program was how I learned and worked on different coding projects with other girls who shared the same passion for Computer Science as me. Together, we learned many languages­ Scratch, Python, C++, and JavaScript (just to name a few).  We were given several tasks, each in increasing difficulty, to engage our newly learned programming skills.

Also, through the program, I was fortunate enough to have met women who have been successful in their Computer Science careers. These women were inspiring because they were proof that women can achieve just as much, if not more, than men. I’ve learned that STEM related careers are dominated by men, but not limited to them.

As I was nearing the end of my seven-week program at Microsoft, I was very excited about doing my final project in Robotics. Thanks to this program, I was inspired to pursue a major in Computer Engineering.

Girls Who Code has free clubs and Summer Immersion Programs throughout the nation. The Summer Immersion Programs are for girls going into 10th or 11th grade. To learn more, visit