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To me, #GirlsCan means there is nothing girls can’t do. It is not just a statement to prove that boys are not better than girls, or that girls can in fact do things. It is a statement that says, “Girls have, girls do, and girls will achieve amazing things, whether there are or aren’t obstacles ahead of us.”

My sophomore year of high school, the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani herself, came to my school — an all-girls school at that. She introduced us to her program, which we felt opened doors for us to explore limitless adventures as women in the field of tech. When I was a student in the GWC program, I was a part of the Twitter Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, also in Cambridge. I thought the energy, learning environment, people, ideas I was exposed to, and of course my teacher and teacher assistants were incredible. My teacher and her assistants, who seemed to answer all of my questions, then proceeded to ask me, “Now, how can you make it better?” These few words become a part of my philosophy as a student, and now a teacher assistant.

This summer our students, rising juniors and seniors in high school, are touching on topics like algorithms and encryption, and are plowing through programs like Scratch, Python, HTML/CSS and web design, JavaScript, and this week robotics and Arduino. After taking part in the program as a student, I was shaken by the possibilities that could become realities with the new knowledge at my fingertips. This was what lead me to understand why it is important to teach people how to code. In this day and age, with technology taking over anything and everything, learning to code is equivalent to understanding how to play with the building blocks of everything that could ever be created. The education of coding is important to learn because it is the base of almost everything that we use today. But with that, it is not just a skill, it is a thought process. It is not just languages to become fluent in, it is learning how to think of things in several different ways and using what is most advantageous within your given set of tools, and being efficient.

However, teaching women to code, specifically, is incredibly critical because we are underrepresented in the field. This may seem like just a number, but women represent more than half of the world and are shown to be less than half of the people that can use these building blocks coding gives us to change our world. A lack of representation is a lack of perspective, it is a lack of new ideas, and a limit to the change that can be created.

 FullSizeRender (3)Jasmine Hyppolite is a rising senior in high school from Providence, Rhode Island. She was part of the 2015 Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Twitter and is now a teacher assistant for the 2016 summer program at Microsoft. She is planning to major in Computer Science in college and hopes to inspire students to do the same.

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