Are local NYC high school girls the new Bill Gates?

Two local high school students didn’t spend her summer at the beach – instead, they learned the ins-and-outs of computer science during a seven-week program held at MetLife’s headquarters in New York.

Shannon Russell and Samira Chowdhury from Bronx, NY, were two of 20 local high school girls chosen to participate in the nationally known Girls Who Code Summer Immersion program, where students received onsite computing science instruction and worked on real-world projects in web design, robotics and mobile application development. Program participants then applied this knowledge to create a final project to present to their friends and family at graduation.
Shannon and her partners created “Dr. Mend”, an interactive website that uses various APIs and symptoms to correctly diagnose you with potential diseases. While Samira and her partners developed a website named “Diversity. Equality. Unity. (D.E.U.)” that highlights gender inequality across the globe.

“Honestly, the Summer Immersion Program was the best experience for me,” said Shannon Russell, student at Promise Academy, “I learned so much within several weeks; from learning different ways to code to social networking. I would love to participate in a Girls Who Code program again.”
Computing skills are among the most sought-after skills in the United States; however, according to Girls Who Code, the share of women in the computing workforce today is falling and will continue to decline if nothing is done to encourage more women to study computer science.
“Digital is transforming all industries at unprecedented levels – and computing skills are a critical path to security and prosperity in today’s job market,” said Marty Lippert, executive vice president and head of MetLife Global Technology & Operations and MetLife Holdings. “Preparing young women for computing and technical jobs is an investment not only in MetLife but also in our greater society. We are proud to partner with Girls Who Code and host our initial Summer Immersion Program.”

To help close the gender gap in technology, the program is designed to expose students to the industry, provide mentorship from women working in technology and help launch the girls into their future careers.
Supplementing the coursework, girls in the program received exposure to the world of computer science with visits from top technology executives and field trips to major companies in the technology field, including a visit to MetLife Stadium, home of the NY Giants and NY Jets. In addition, MetLife volunteers helped the girls each week with activities such as updating their resumes, preparing for interviews and defining their personal “brand” on social media sites.

Interested in joining? Don’t wait until next summer. Girls Who Code offers free after-school programs for 3rd to 5th and 6th to12th grade girls to learn more about computer science. Visit to see what programs are available near you.

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