Made With Code is a new Google initiative to motivate future female programmers. Only 18%of computer science degrees are earned by women, and Google is spending $50 million over the next three years to change those numbers.
More than 150 high school girls turned out for the event, including local chapters of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code. Kaling, a writer and actress, emceed the premiere, which brought in Google X Vice President Megan Smith, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, iLuminate creator Miral Kotb, Pixar Director of Photography Danielle Feinberg and UNICEF Innovation cofounder Erica Kochi.
Feinberg, who has worked on films like Brave, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc., spoke with the group about her early experiences with coding and how it has shaped her career. She also emphasized the importance of exposing girls to how fun coding can be.
“This is something that’s so important to me that I’m happy to do anything that they want me to do and be as involved as possible,” she told Mashable. “I think it’s much easier to connect with when you can see it and you can hear it and get all the senses involved.”
Smith spoke about why she spearheaded the campaign to get girls into coding. She took a coding class in high school, but described it as boring. Her goal for Made With Code is to show girls that figuring out coding can be challenging but rewarding: “We invited you guys because we wanted to share the incredible world that we live in every day.”
After each speaker shared her personal experiences with coding, Swedish house music duo Icona Pop gave a private performance. iLuminate’s robotic dancers, wearing light-up suits, also performed, giving viewers a live example of how coding and dance can be combined.
Girls then had the opportunity to peruse multiple demonstrations of coding in action, ranging from the practical to the simply fun. Demos included programming — and trying on — virtual dresses, designing 3D-printable bracelets and creating a dancing avatar.
One attendee was Brittany Wenger, 19, who won the 2012 Google Science Fair for her app that accurately diagnoses breast cancer and is also minimally invasive.
“I was the only girl in my high school computer science class,”
“I was the only girl in my high school computer science class,” Wenger told Mashable. “My teacher was a female, so it was great to be able to look up to her … I just wish everybody had that same experience.”
Made With Code isn’t a one-time event. The website links girls seeking encouragement to coding meet-ups in their area. Google Helpouts also makes tutorials explaining coding concepts.
Miral Kotb, creator and CEO of iLuminate, shows off one of the dancers. All of the dancers’ costumes have programmed lighting. Two girls in the front row, bottom right, are remote-controlling the costume on a tablet.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
2012 Google Science Fair winner Brittany Wenger, second from right, mingles with fellow attendees.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
An attendee interacts with Firewall, an interactive, programmed media installation by Michael P. Allison and Aaron Sherwood. The further one presses into the spandex surface, the more intense the light designs and music become.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
A girl designs a bracelet — which will be 3D printed by Shapeways, a NYC-based 3D printing marketplace and community — as part of the accessory demo booth.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
A 3D-printed bracelet reads, “Designed W/ Code.”IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
As part of the event, girls were able to design custom 3D-printed bracelets, courtesy of Shapeways, a NYC-based 3D printing marketplace and community.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER
There were various code output platforms on display– from fashion and design to humanitarian relief efforts.IMAGE: MASHABLE, NIKI WALKER