Widgets Magazine

she++ to launch high school fellowship program

Next April, 30 high school students from across the nation who are aspiring to enter the technology field will come to Stanford for the first she++ #include summit.

The summit is part of a new fellowship initiative under she++, a Stanford-based organization that aims to deconstruct gender stereotypes surrounding the tech industry and provide equal opportunities for involvement in computer science.

Although she++ focuses on promoting women in tech, applications for the #include summit are open to all high school students.

“We want all sorts of people to fall in love with technology and computer science and feel comfortable in that space,” said Rachel Mellon ’16, co-director of the new program.

The fellowship consists of an educational program and summit to encourage high school students to raise awareness about tech in their communities.

“The main goal of the #include fellowship is to encourage students who might not otherwise be exposed to computer science or other tech fields,” Mellon said.

“#include is a directive used in C and C++ when you want to include a library,” Mellon said. “The name comes from the idea that we want to make tech be a safe space.”

Students who sign up online by Dec. 11 will receive a Launch Kit with fellowship materials about how to initiate conversations about tech. Those accepted to the program get an all-expenses paid trip to the #include summit.

Each student will also be assigned a college mentor (a separate application process in itself) to help implement tech-related projects in the participants’ communities. Methods of raising awareness for students range from starting a robotics club to implementing plans to add a computer science class to their high school curriculum.

“High schoolers might not have as much experience as college students,” said Lucy Wang ’16, co-director of the #include fellowship. “This will be an immersive learning experience for them.”

Participants are chosen based on community involvement and a submitted tech sample. Once accepted into the program, they will tour tech companies like Facebook, listen to speakers working in tech and take classes taught by industry professionals.

#include adds to past she++ initiatives, which include an annual on-campus tech conference for college students and a documentary about women in tech.

“I think computer science is missing from the high school curriculum,” Wang said. “Many students will consider subjects taught in their high schools like economics or engineering.

“Not a lot of high schools offer computer science, so students won’t consider it until they get to high school, or they may never consider it,” she added.

Nathalia Scrimshaw ’17, director of operations for the #include Fellowship, spoke about the importance of keeping conversations about tech in the participants’ communities alive.

“If one student does something to help empower students interested in computer science at their school, then other students will hopefully get excited and it will create a chain effect,” Scrimshaw said.

Mellon elaborated on the viability of #include’s community impact goals.

“That fact that something like the summit can exist is proof that tech companies really want to see more people excited about this space,” Mellon said. “There is a community waiting for students, encouraging them to explore and not give up.”

Contact Madeleine Han at mhan95 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Madeleine Han

Seunghwa Madeleine Han '17 is a sophomore at Stanford interested in English, international relations and the intersection of technology and human communication. She is currently a contributing writer for music and a former news desk editor at The Daily. Contact her at mhan95 'at' stanford.edu to find out more.