This past summer, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work in the STEM industry in Silicon Valley. It was an incredibly formative experience, and by the end of August, I had come to two major conclusions; First, computer science and optimization is definitely what I want to spend my life doing, and second, the industry is inherently biased against women. In two and a half months, only two out of 20 of the employees I shadowed were women. Only one female sat on the company’s executive board. The majority of female employees of this Fortune 500 Company worked in clerical and administrative roles. As my internship progressed, I realized that the bonds I had made with the few women there were far stronger than those I had made with anyone else, and I knew that they were relationships that I could call on far after the summer was over. The camaraderie between women, especially when they are underrepresented, is extremely powerful. These women were fiercely loyal to one another and really went out of their way to make sure that I knew I was supported. To this day, I still consult them for advice and opinions about my future.
I am Platform because I want all women who share my passion for the technology-related fields to feel supported by the same network I have. It is my hope that I can see the number of women in the industry increase exponentially, all while maintaining the same sense of solidarity. Through Platform, my goals are to increase initiatives to further promote women’s involvement in technology fields, and to actively create opportunities for the formation of networks between young girls and women currently employed in the industry. While there are already a number of programs that encourage girls to pursue STEM fields, like Girls who Code, there are very few opportunities for young women to find female mentors in their field.