“When I thought of Amazon, all I knew was that they ship a lot of packages to my house, since my mom loves to shop,” explained rising high school senior Naffie Sise from Vancouver, Washington.
But for 7 weeks this summer, tucked into a corner conference room on the 4th floor of Doppler, Naffie and 19 other high school girls are learning the in’s and out’s of coding as part of the national ‘Girls Who Code’ program. They are also learning, in Naffie’s own words, “about all the other stuff Amazon does.”
Prior to this program, Naffie was under the impression computer science meant creating video games – something she was not particularly interested in doing. “But now I see that computer science is also used in software and social media,” she said. “Sometimes coding is frustrating but when you figure it out, it’s rewarding.”
“Coding is fun because it’s a big accomplishment when you get to see other people enjoying what you created,” explained Lauryn Jenne, a rising high school senior from Seattle. “I liked learning about different ways coding can help a community.”
For both Lauryn and Naffie, this summer setting is particularly meaningful. Not only have they already mastered making a bouncy ball travel in different directions across their computer screens, but they also get to spend quality one-on-one time with female Amazonian mentors, and recently heard from a group of female cyber security specialists.
“I’ve always been in advanced math and science classes, but the classes were filled with mostly boys,” explained Naffie. “Here, it’s special because it’s all girls and we are supportive of each other.”
“Coding is fun because it’s a big accomplishment when you get to see other people enjoying what you created.”
“I was one of three girls in a school computer science class of 28 students,” added Lauryn. “The girls here are brilliant and we all listen to each other.”
Both Lauryn and Naffie said they hope to someday work at a company like Amazon, and ‘Girls Who Code’ seem to be priming these future Amazonians well.
“We teach them that failure is a good thing in computer science,” explained Victoria Sykora-Lovaas, one of the ‘Girls Who Code’ student teachers. “Failure is an opportunity to learn and move forward.”
In just a few years, these coders will be ready to innovate and experiment at Amazon!