Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit Alexa Café, our new all-girls tech program, held at Palo Alto High School! I have been writing about Alexa Café since the idea for the program was initially conceived, so naturally, I was extremely excited to see how the real thing compared to the version I have been envisioning over the past few months. Plus, as a Gender Studies major, I was curious to see how a group of girls ages 10-14 would respond to lessons in leadership, entrepreneurship, coding, web design, philanthropy, and brand identity.
In a word, the results were brilliant.
I walked in and immediately my eyes gravitated toward the casual, comfortable beanbag seating. The warm lighting. The chic café decor and signage. The vibrant teal color scheme--and coordinating MacBook covers and mousepads. The awesome Alexa Café "swag" (e.g. t-shirts, mugs, hair ties, and more). But more than anything, I was captivated by the collaborative buzz of the girls as they figured out how to code their philanthropic projects, design web pages, and dream up awesome, game-changing products and brands.
During my visit, all of the students gathered in the bigger of the two classrooms (and I struggle using the word "classroom" because these rooms were absolutely transformed), to view Google's recent Made With Code videos. The video series shows young girls that coding incredible, useful, life-changing, inspiring, technologies is within their reach. Some of the videos showcase the stories of women like Danielle Feinberg, Director of Photography for Lighting at Pixar, and Miral Kotb, founder and CEO of iLuminate, a dance company that combines code with Broadway choreography. The discussion afterward was the best part--many of the girls expressed that they could easily see themselves creating with code like these women had, or even joining forces with other women working on similar endeavors. I learned that Danielle would actually be coming to speak with the students later this week, which is beyond cool.
For introverted and extroverted girls alike, Alexa Café is a major stepping stone toward their future success as leaders and innovators. Enjoy some of my humble pictures and get a feel for the spirit of the program:
Chic café style
Learning while lounging
Collaborating in small clusters
"What have you done to help others?" board
Awesomeness TV filming the Made With Code discussion
Café-style seating near the project inspiration wall
Can't wait to see this program expand in the years to come. I think we're on to something BIG here. :)