AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Bringing Girls Who Code to re:Invent 2016

AWS was proud to help sponsor the 2016 Girls Who Code (GWC) Summer Immersion Programs for 1,500 high-school aged girls. To enable their work, AWS built a custom curriculum for the Girls Who Code teams to learn and build their projects in the cloud. At the conclusion of the seven-week program, students formed small teams and built web-based projects using the skills they gained during the summer.

A team of AWS experts reviewed the projects of the student teams who incorporated AWS into their projects. Two project teams were then selected to come to AWS re:Invent 2016 in Las Vegas. This provided students a chance to learn more about cloud computing, experience a large-scale tech conference, and share with other cloud enthusiasts their AWS-powered projects and passion for programming. The two selected projects were:

  • The Mercer of Durham, Seattle Girls Who Code Summer Camp (2 students): The Mercer of Durham is a “choose-your-own-adventure” game played on the Amazon Echo through the cloud-based Alexa voice service. The purpose of the game is to play an adventure game through the power of your voice, similar to role playing. It was inspired by the text-based “choose-your-own-adventure-game” that the group created in class on Python.
  • Kokua, Boston Girls Who Code Summer Camp (5 students): Kokua is a website that is used as a “cold caller” to select random students and as a random group generator to allow students the opportunity to work with different peers. In addition, the team created a bar graph displaying the statistics of how many times a student’s name was called. Kokua differs from traditional cold-calling devices because it organizes multiple functions into one tool that is easy for teachers to use. Coded using JavaScript, HTML, PHP, and CSS, Kokua saves teachers from worrying about who to call on next or keeping track of who is not participating.

“Attending AWS re:Invent gave us the opportunity to interact with world-class programmers and engineers and a chance to share our final project from Girls Who Code. Thank you AWS and GWC for sponsoring us!” shared the team from Kokua.

AWS is committed to helping build the pipeline of women and underrepresented communities in tech. As a part of this effort, we held a Diversify Tech panel at re:Invent. In the panel, experts in the field of diversity, equality, equity, inclusion, and innovation discussed actionable steps we can take, both individually and as companies, to improve diversity in tech. The Girls Who Code teams also presented their projects at the end of this panel, and received an opportunity to get to know Girls Who Code VP of Strategy and Innovation, Leah Gilliam, who moderated the discussion. You can watch the full panel here: