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It’s Not Just The Courses- It’s The Connections

On Friday afternoon I came across an article included in my National Coalition of Girls’ Schools  newsletter about the need for more girls in computer science in high school so that they are better represented in the tech industry. Eleanor Barkhorn’s article in The Atlantic, entitled Tech’s Gender and Race Gap Starts in High School indicates the great concern regarding a lack of women in computer science and coding careers. I was pleased, however, on that very morning to have had some time with a remarkable young woman who is, in fact, in the tech industry.

I met with alumna Kate Raynes-Goldie ’00, who had returned to St. Clement’s after having not been in touch for many years. She and I mused about our time at St. Clement’s and how far we had both come relative to our own expectations and to our perceived sense of where others thought we would be. Kate had a passion for computers and art while in school and told me that she had felt like a bit of an outsider in many ways. I was thrilled to tell her of our current computer science and engineering courses as well as our girls’ passion for robotics.

Kate has accomplished some fabulous things, including sharing her passion for gaming in a TED Talk at the 2012 TEDxPerth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji39oEjrgvc as well as assisting in building a cross media literacy game for children ages 8-10 to teach privacy literacy. She completed her PhD in 2012 with a thesis on Privacy in the Age of Facebook, a topic of great interest and importance, and has been a lecturer in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

The abovementioned article about the gender and race gap in tech indicates a need for increased encouragement for instruction and courses in computer science; however my belief is that this must be coupled with mentorship, so that girls can meet women already in this field.

It was such a pleasure to meet Kate and to see how her intellectual curiosity, courage and passion for computers have taken her on a wonderful path. Having had the opportunity to reconnect, I am very excited about the chance to have our girls meet with her, so that in addition to their access to excellence computer courses and instruction, they have access to a wonderful female role model.

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