Just Like Me

by Quiessence Philips - JOURNi Co-founder

It is not a coincidence that many people pursuing a particular career knew of someone that held a position within. As the saying goes, “if you can see it, you can believe it”. It is possible to envision something you do not know to be possible, but is is rare. This is why it is important to expose our youth to those in positions spanning the gamut of technology and other change making careers. I don’t necessarily view myself as influential and inspirational, but the young ladies I’ve helped mentor have shown me quite the opposite. This is why at JOURNi we not only teach the power of coding and entrepreneurship, but expose our students to folks who look like them and work in all areas of technology or own tech-enabled businesses.

I had the pleasure of speaking to and working with a set of girls who knew nothing about code and were only familiar with technology from a consumers perspective. After my initial speech, the instructor informed me that the girls all left saying “I want to be {insert cool title}, just like {insert cool person}. She looks just like me.” These young ladies went on to build amazing websites and applications, and those at the university level enrolled in the Computer Science program.

Learning to code is not a siloed skill; it is more than a specific technical skill set. The benefits span from critical thinking to understanding methodologies. These skills are applicable to navigating life and it’s challenges. Most importantly, learning to code equips one with the ability to create. There is nothing more fulfilling.

JOURNi is raising $50,000 to make sure that Detroit girls have the opportunity to follow in Quiessence's footsteps and blaze their own trail in tech. By donating $16 to our #DetroitGirlsCode campaign, you can support one hour of coding for a future girl techie! 

Peta-Gay Clarke: Creating Pathways Through Computer Science Education

Peta-Gay Clarke is a well rounded professional with broad experience as a Business and Information Technology leader, coupled with a passion for providing S.T.E.M. education to underserved youth. In 2015 she joined Google's diversity team to serve as Community Manager, focusing on creating sustainable communities to cultivate more Black and Latino Computer Scientists. Prior to Google, Peta served as the Deputy Director of IT at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Peta also has over 10 years of experience as a Programmer, working for companies including the Federal Reserve Bank, NYC Department of Education, New York Magazine, and COACH Inc.

Peta holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Programming from Farmingdale State University of New York (SUNY) and earned her Masters Degree from Pace University. She was awarded the Civic Engagement Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service in May 2015. 

Are you an educator interested in understand how Google sees computer science education and the pathways it creates? Come hear from Peta-Gay Clarke this Friday, July 29th during our launch event - The JOURNi to Revolutionizing Tech - at MASH Detroit. RSVP here.