Life at TUNE

The TUNE House Roadshow: Showing Young Women Opportunities in Tech Careers

Becky Doles

“Mom, Dad! We have class registration for next semester this Friday and I have no idea what to take. What should I do!?” As a parent or teacher you may have heard this exact statement from your middle or high school student over the years. Your response probably went along the lines of “Which of these classes interests you most? Are you taking all of the classes you need to prepare for college applications?”

What if you said: “Have you ever thought about computer science or looking into the technology classes that are offered? Have you taken a class like that before?” Bingo. What if your daughter knew taking technology classes now would present an array of opportunities in college and maybe even help her land that first career? Would you encourage her to try one? Probably, because seeing one’s child succeed after leaving home is a rewarding feeling for most parents.

Knowledge is power

We’re in the midst of our second year of the TUNE House Roadshow, a program where the TUNE House scholars visit high schools around the greater Seattle area and share their journey of discovering technology to young female students. Spreading awareness and educating young females about career opportunities in technology, while encouraging them to enroll in a technology class, is what the TUNE House Roadshow sets out to do. By showing them possible career trajectories in tech, paired with the stories and experiences of women currently majoring in and working in tech, the Roadshow helps break down any barriers between young women and their enrollment in computer sciences classes.

“I would recommend the Tune House Roadshow to any school. The lunch time presentation gained a lot of attention and had a great panel of future female leaders in the tech field. The presentation doubled the number of females taking programing classes and overall was a sublime experience for students.” — Keith, CSE Teacher at Kentwood High School

How the TUNE House Roadshow made an impact in 2017

Every TUNE House Roadshow includes a panel discussion with at least two TUNE House scholars. The scholars’ stories are relatable to middle and high schoolers because the panelists remember what it was like to be in the students’ shoes not long ago . Throughout the presentation, the scholars share stories of victories, challenges, mentors, internships, and opportunities that have helped them get to where they are today.  A coding demonstration given by the panelists gives the students insight into how programming works, what code looks like, and demonstrates the autonomy and ability to transform an idea into a working project.

“Even when I’m talking about a silly project, like my app “Holy Guacamole,” I can feel the excitement in the air as the gals imagine what they could do with technology.” –Olga Andreeva, TUNE House Scholar

Finding the path to technology  

One thing you’re guaranteed to hear during a roadshow is there isn’t a cookie cutter path when it comes to discovering a passion for technology. As the TUNE House scholars share, many of them didn’t discover their passion for tech until high school or college, or most learned about it because their friend encouraged them to take a class with them. Discovering and building one’s own path to technology is exactly the conversation Melinda Gates had with the scholars during her visit to the TUNE House in the summer of 2017.

“One really impactful moment that stuck with me from the roadshow was when a student came up to me after the event and told me that she wanted be like us when she grew up and thanked us for coming. At that moment, I truly felt like I belonged in this field  and I knew that we were making a difference.” — Aishwarya Manoharan, TUNE House Scholar

Capturing the excitement and instinctive curiosity

Timing can play an important role when discovering new opportunities. In this case, timing helps us measure the effectiveness of the TUNE House Roadshow by visiting the school right before class registration. Our ultimate goal is to encourage each and every student to register for one of the technology classes offered by their school.

“I enjoyed everything. It re-sparked my interest in coding and reminded me how much I loved being in the coding class I was in last year.” — 7th grade student and Roadshow attendee   

Just one piece of the puzzle

Next time your daughter asks you what class she should take, encourage her and her friends to try a computer science class. Share concrete examples on how technology can be applied to numerous fields.

“I liked how we got specific examples of what you can do with computer science to help improve things in the world.” — 10th grade student and Roadshow attendee

Better yet, encourage them to join a Girls Who Code program, attend an Ignite Worldwide class field trip, become a TEALS school, start a tech club or have the TUNE House Roadshow visit. These are just a few ways to encourage future female technologists to uncover hidden passions.

If you’re interested in having the TUNE House Roadshow visit your daughter’s school, please reach out to us at [email protected], or if you would like to learn more about the TUNE House, visit the TUNE House website.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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