During the peak of the pandemic, staying connected with other peers had seemed almost impossible. A common sentiment among female students was that class discussions and groups were dominated by men in the STEM field. With this in mind, I and several other students at Queens College decided to start a new club: Girls Who Code QC. The club’s mission is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for women and nonbinary students pursuing a career in computer science. Girls Who Code QC intends on providing members from underrepresented groups with resources and opportunities to build their technical skills and confidence.
As current president of Girls Who Code QC, I was only a freshman when I noticed a lack of community for women and non-binary students interested in technology. When attending my computer science classes, I noticed the significant disparity between men and women. I was determined to find others who would be as dedicated as I was to start a club that would solve this issue.
After the pandemic hit, these plans were put on hold, until another QC student suggested starting a Girls Who Code College Loop. A College Loop is a Girls Who Code corporate-approved university-level program. I subsequently reached out to one of my friends from high school, Jacinda Soto, who was aware of the gender disparity in technology. Jacinda agreed, and the planning process began in July 2020.
Although the club was initially meant to be something light-hearted, it turned into something more. As our community grew, so did our E-board. There are currently 11 E-board members. Each member has contributed to the growth of the club and made a wonderful impact.
I monitor and delegate tasks to the E-board team. I organize and host events, while finding opportunities for the club’s members and encouraging them on their journey in this field. I keep in communication with the club’s faculty advisors, along with many QC alumni, and other clubs.
Jacinda, the Vice President, assists in organizing information for the E-board and members, while sending weekly club emails regarding workshops and opportunities. She helped organize a few workshops. She also assists the president with decision making.
Kayla Dewdat, the Secretary, writes meeting notes, takes attendance and creates presentations for every event.
Shagufta Sarguroh, the Treasurer, has helped the club become officialized and secured funding for club events. She also organized some of these events, while establishing connections with other clubs.
Penelope Seelochan, the Graphic Designer, has designed the mascot, logo, merchandise, color scheme, and various flyers to promote events. She also assists the President on decision making, along with providing ideas to liven the club’s Discord server.
Tasfia Hossain, one of the Social Media Managers, works closely with the Public Relations team to promote events and attract members to the club, through their various social media handles. She writes summaries on each event, and has helped the club garner over 250+ followers on Instagram, Reddit, and LinkedIn combined.
Ankita KC, being a part of the Public Relations team, corresponds with QC faculty, alumni, and other clubs to help promote different workshops and events. She helps to actively recruit members, while promoting the club in various different ways.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Girls Who Code QC held a Women’s Empowerment Panel to gain insight and advice regarding being a woman in STEM. Marin Azhar, the Event Coordinator, moderated their guest speakers from Queens College and Queensborough Community College. Throughout the panel, the speakers shared their personal experiences within their profession and obstacles they overcame throughout the years. This event included discussions on gender disparity, importance of office hours, and countless ways to motivate yourself during difficult times.
After meeting with other clubs, Girls Who Code QC decided to team up and plan a networking workshop. After reaching out to alumni, a total of 8 mentors from different fields in technology were happy to attend the event. The workshop had 69+ attendees of students from different majors. Attendees were able to step out of their comfort zone, receive advice on career-readiness, and get a better glance at life after college.
Within a year, Girls Who Code QC managed to gain members of different genders and majors, as well as successfully host amazing events, bringing together 160 Queens College students virtually. Girls Who Code QC will continue to grow virtually and hopes to return in-person as well.
For anyone interested in joining Girls Who Code QC, head over to the club’s Instagram, @gwc.qc to sign up!