Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts.
"When I was first introduced to computer programming, as a freshman in Electrical Engineering, Fortran and Pascal were the popular languages for newbies in computing and the Apple Macintosh was the new kid on the block. I remember being excited by the prospects, and looked forward to embarking on a rich and rewarding career after college.
But I also recall, as I pursued my studies, feeling culturally isolated: few of my classmates looked like me. While we shared similar aspirations and many good times, there’s much to be said for making any challenging journey with people of the same cultural background.
Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.
By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.
That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.
Imagine the impact that these curious, creative minds could have on the world with the guidance and encouragement others take for granted.
I have, and I can’t wait!"
Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. By promoting classes
and programs Black Girls Code hopes to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the
masters of their technological worlds.
Kimberly has been nationally recognized as a thought leader for her work to increase opportunities for women and girls in the technology industry and has received numerous awards for her work with Black Girls CODE.
Women make 80% of travel decisions. 2 out of every 3 travelers are female. 11% of the entire travel market is occupied by the solo female traveler. And yet, women’s travel is consistently considered a niche in the travel industry, which fails to consider real concerns women face when traveling, especially alone: cultural nuances and gender norms, safety, the female body.
But what if women could guide each other, in real time, wherever they are around the world? That’s the premise of Wanderful, an international sisterhood of women of diverse ages and background who meet online and in person to help one another travel the world.
Wanderful Founder, Beth Santos, started a personal blog in 2009 when she couldn’t find substantial resources for women who were traveling alone. That blog grew into a global community of women travelers dedicated to helping each other. In 2015, Beth rebranded as Wanderful–which has exploded into a global lifestyle brand with the active participation of over 40,000 women and nonbinary people whose mission is to make travel easier for women by connecting them to their greatest asset: each other.
Wanderful's mission is accomplished through:
- A thriving membership community where women can find travel buddies around the world
- In-person chapters in 50+ cities
- Global gatherings and trips like the Women in Travel Summit and Wanderfest
- A woman-to-woman homesharing network
- A powerful database of women-owned trips
- And more!
For more stories about women who broke travel barriers and made history: CLICK HERE
Gumbo Media , founded in September 2016 by Courtney Phillips and Matthew Manning, curates content, experience, and opportunity that expand the narrative of Black life.
Gumbo is committed to an inclusive, equitable representation of Black life–the vast majority of everyday Black voices–rather than the common narratives of celebrity entertainment and monolithic stereotypes that exist in most media representation.
Part of that vision includes the release of their latest project–Gumbo Magazine –available now at gumbomedia.com/magazine .
Gumbo Magazine is a biannual print publication with 150+ pages of poetry, essays, short stories, art, comics, and photos from 75 of the world’s most talented emerging Black creatives. It is a tactile exploration and archive of the expansiveness of Black life.
“Issue 001: Black” is described as “a love letter to Black life.” The issue will celebrate the many corners and intersections of the Black experience, explore the questions that shape Black identity, and highlight the histories and discourses left unspoken.
Graphic Design for Issue 001 is by Tahiti Morgann (@0514design)
Full cover credits:
- Photographer: Bobby Rogers
- Model: Moliesha Onyongo (@moliesha95)
- Photography Assistant: Desaré Cox (@chipotlayyye)
- MUA: Brynna Heiser (@brynna.rijoyce)
- Stylist: Eb Umana and Golden Pearl Vintage (@thegoldenpearlvintage)
Braxton Jenkins is a junior studying mechanical engineering at Valporaiso University in Indiana. He is specifically interested in the study of energy and desires to innovate solar panels, installing them in underserved communities in Chicago. He is a member of Valpo’s Christ College Honor’s Program.
Braxton’s dad enrolled him in an engineering program when he was in middle school. The experience challenged him and got him thinking about a future in the engineering field. Braxton was further challenged in high school to consider his role in the care of the environment, as well as socio-economic and race issues and the disparities both had wrought in his community. He entered college with the desire to study engineering and make a difference in underserved communities of color.
Braxton had the privilege of serving in several different countries throughout his college career with an organization called WAVES, including Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The purpose of his summer internship in 2019 was to evaluate dysfunctional residential solar panel systems in a rural, indigenous community in El Cacao, Nicaragua. He researched how components of solar systems work and what causes their failures, preparing a presentation that will be used to explain why the systems are failing and viable options to install more sustainable solar systems.
Braxton is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and is the Treasurer for the NSBE Chapter at Valpo.
Braxton’s first piece of advice to students of color is to go into a field of study with a plan or goal in mind. During his time studying engineering, Braxton says, “I’ve been kicked down, then kicked down again. I’ve learned that if you want to achieve something, you have to see yourself in a position of success and then work to achieve it.” Braxton’s second piece of advice is to surround yourself with people who will encourage you to keep going, not just mentally but also logistically. People who will ask, “How are you going to keep going?” One practical way Braxton does this is by meeting weekly with his academic professor from Freshman year.
Read about Braxton's summer internship experience HERE.
Braxton grew up in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and is a graduate of George Westinghouse College Prep , a Chicago Public Schools Selective Enrollment School. While at Westinghouse, Braxton participated in the The Northwestern Medicine Scholars program, which is designed to provide outstanding Westinghouse students enriching experiences to explore and be better prepared for careers in medicine and biomedical sciences. Students have the opportunity to learn from the country's leading physicians at a premier academic medical center.
Now Westinghouse also offers the FH Paschen Engineering Scholars program where students get a behind-the-scenes look at civil engineering and construction in Chicago. This highly-selective three-year program provides students summer internships, course work at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and construction site visits throughout the year.
John Pendleton, Cafe Manager at Entrenuity's Common Cup coffee shop in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, brought a little extra attention to the "Founder of Chicago" on the first day of Black History Month. John installed a beautiful floral swag with a wooden sign that read, "a Black man founded Chicago" on the bronze bust of Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable that marks the site of the original du Sable homestead. The bust, by Chicago-born sculptor Erik Blome, drew more attention than usual, thanks to John’s floral installation. Pictures were posted on social media, with one viewer’s photo receiving 9.3k shares!