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Changing the STEM Game with Black Girls Code

When the deck was stacked against her, Kimberly Bryant changed the rules of the game.

Research on the dearth of women of color in STEM shows that many women repeatedly face the double burden of racial and gender biases. Rather than be discouraged, Kimberly Bryant decided to innovate. She founded Black Girls Code and made addressing those challenges her niche — and her personal mission.

Bryant worked for more than 20 years as an engineering manager, so she is familiar with the bleak climate for women of color in STEM fields. But it was not until her daughter Kia came home disappointed from her computer science summer camp that Bryant decided she needed to act. Not only was Kia the only black girl her at her camp, but she also felt that the instructors were focusing primarily on her male peers. Hearing her daughter’s story and knowing the lack of diversity in the startup and tech fields, Bryant decided to create the change she wanted to see for herself and her daughter.

Since Black Girls Code’s founding, the Bay Area-based organization has grown rapidly and now has an international reach. Part of that success is surely due to Bryant’s approach: As both a role model and an active part of the movement to increase young girls’ exposure to coding, she uses multiple proven methods to encourage girls in STEM. The White House has officially honored Kimberly Bryant as a Champion of Change for the way she has tackled this issue head on.

Get to Know the NCCWSL
Women of Distinction

Name: Kimberly Bryant

Occupation: Founder of Black Girls Code

Education: Bachelor of Engineering, Vanderbilt University

Website: blackgirlscode.com

Twitter: @6Gems; @BlackGirlsCode

By:    April 20, 2016