Unfortunately, even though there are expected to be 1.4 million jobs in computing fields by 2020, women educated in America are on pace to fill just 3 percent of them. 

“Closing the gender gap in technology will take more than just a few committed voices,” says Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code. “It will take a huge effort from our schools and policy makers to expose more girls to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines at a young age.”

Saujani hopes Girls Who Code will be a critical first step for many girls. Among other offerings, it has summer immersion programs that teach innovative coding techniques to girls at the offices of leading technology companies. Here is what a sample day of one program looked like for one student, Caitlin Stanton:

7:30 a.m.

My dad shakes me awake, making sure not to wake my little sister, who’s sleeping on the other side of the curtain.

8:45 a.m.

Girls Who Code starts at 9 a.m., but nearly everyone from my class travels from Long Island or Newark or deep Brooklyn, meaning that they have to arrive early.

9:00 a.m.

Lindsey is our teacher, and Billy and Grace our teaching assistants. I don’t think any better teachers and teaching assistants could’ve been chosen for our class. They settle us down immediately with our warm-up exercise for the day. Sometimes it’s making a website straight out of the ‘90s, finding the perfect song to coordinate a robot dance party to, or researching today’s speakers to collect at least three questions to ask them.

“Since that summer immersion program, I have taken nearly all of the computer science courses at my school.”

10:15 a.m.

It’s lecture time. Lindsey's lessons explained the theory and concepts behind Python, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but she focused most of our energy on class activities. When we were learning Python, we spent the time before lunch making a dictionary of “card” objects “shuffle.” During our unit on web design, she let us run free and make our own personal websites, complete with Comic Sans font and scrolling banners. For JavaScript, we made randomly generated aquariums of fish (as our coding environment repeatedly reminded us about the value of semicolons).

12:00 p.m.

Lunch was a wonderful time at Goldman Sachs with brown lunch boxes and either a cookie or a bag of chips—and, on one glorious day, both.

1:00 p.m.

It’s time to go back to work. This is when everyone buckles down and really gets to work on the project of the day, whether it’s a platformer generator to work on our use of classes in JavaScript, an Obama-fier to make any picture look presidential or even our final projects. DebAPP, the debate-scoring app, anyone?.

3:30 p.m.

Lindsey gets us all together in a circle to say our highs and lows of the day. We normally allot 30 minutes for this daily ritual, but we’ll end up leaving by 4:30 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

It’s time to chill in Rockefeller Park with some fries from Shake Shack or watch a movie at the theater nearby.

When I first applied for Girls Who Code, it was only to get a step up in the engineering world. I never expected to spend my days surrounded by people as clueless as I was, but still just as eager and excited to learn. My time on the Grace Hopper team at Girls Who Code really showed me the world of computer science beyond the string of characters you type out on your screen.

Since that summer immersion program, I have taken nearly all of the computer science courses at my school. This summer, I was an intern for the #BUILTBYGIRLS brand at AOL, a job opportunity I received from being an alumna of Girls Who Code. I’ll be off to Cornell University in the fall, where I’ll be studying computer engineering. Every day I strive to learn and grow as a person, and I hope to continue on that track for as long as I possibly can.