Student Initiative — Girls Who Code

Meet Catherine Jackson from the Class of 2024 | Written by Helen Prykhodko | Nov 30, 2022

Catherine Jackson from the United Kingdom is a third-year student at Minerva majoring in Computational Sciences and Natural Sciences. Besides traveling and outdoor activities, one of her passions includes bringing people together—that is what inspired Catherine to create a new student initiative, called ‘Girls Who Code: College Loop’, to break the preconception that girls do not like coding.

“Over the summer I worked at Girls Who Code, teaching young women web design. They have a construct called College Loops and I thought that was something that Minerva could benefit from. Prior to this, I did not know about any groups at Minerva that were specifically created for women passionate about Computational Sciences or who want to break into the tech space (science, software engineering, product management). I felt like there was a lack of community around that.

‘Girls Who Code: College Loop’ at Minerva creates a sense of belonging and community for women and non-binary individuals who are passionate about technology and coding. Perhaps, it is your first time coding or your first time interviewing for a software engineering position—getting support from one another is very powerful. “There is so much culture and fear of ‘I cannot do it' that women uplifting each other is something that has to happen.”

The club runs three different types of programs:

  • Bi-weekly meetings to work on passion projects or technical interview preparation together. Students work on anything of their choice, having the space to ask questions and receive support.
  • Speaker series where professional women in tech speak to students, share their experiences and give feedback on how students can improve job applications in the field.
  • Social gatherings to get a break from studying or work for more casual interactions to bond as a community

“I think women are more welcome in the tech industry than they used to be, but there is still much room for improvement given the unequal numbers,” Catherine says. “I’ve never had experience with coding before university, but I started with Minerva resources, like summer study sessions and Data Camp tutorials.” Now, the Girls Who Code club is a space for students to intentionally allocate time to self-development and get much-needed support.”

If you were inspired by Catherine’s story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, start your Minerva application today.