Black Girls Code Hackathon Results

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Image source: http://mtv.mtvnimages.com/uri/mgid:uma:image:mtv.com:10696527?quality=0.8&format=jpg&height=495&width=660

Black Girls Code recently held Hackathons for girls between the ages of 12 and 17 in New York City.

Black Girls Code is an organization that runs after school programs with coding lessons for young girls from underrepresented communities, founded in response to the fact that black women account for such a small proportion of the ICT industry. In 2013, only 3% of the computing workforce was made up of black women.

The winners, comprised of N’Dea Jackson (age 14), Autumn Noel (age 11), Aida-Simone Rhoden, and Marissa Rivera, developed an app to help students study together remotely called “Mana.” It also helps them get notes or homework after absences and provides study tools such as flashcards. It is currently just in demo form, but the girls hope a company will be willing to help them produce their app. In second-place was an app supporting students who were victims of bullying.

N’Dea discusses why she loves to code. “I love how [with coding] you can build whatever you want, and there are no limitations because you have all the controls. I’m fascinated by how apps work and by learning how to make them function properly.” She hopes to pursue computer engineering and app development as her career.

Autumn says she loves “that [she gets] to learn new things and figure out new tools to develop apps,” and was particularly proud of the fact that the judges thought their app could truly “help change the world.”

The founder of Black Girls Code and current Executive Director, Kimberly Bryant, has big plans for Black Girls Code around the world, hoping to reach one million girls by 2040. The organization recently opened its first international chapter in Johannesburg and hopes to continue its expansion in Arica, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Canada. Bryant also notes that all girls are welcome at the event, particularly “under-served girls,” even though they focus on girls of color.

N’Dea perfectly describes why organizations like Black Girls Code are so important. “Learning to code [with other girls] teaches you about being able to stand up for yourself and helps teach you that you’re just as good as everyone else. … Right now, [this field] is mostly monopolized by boys, and we really need to get our foot in the door. Because we all have really good ideas.”

Source: Kristina Marusic, MTV News