You Code Girl: A New Class of Teen Techies Graduate From Viacom’s Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

For the second year in a row, Viacom hosted a Girls Who Code summer immersion program. Find out more about how Viacom got involved with the national nonprofit here.

In the era of Twitter wars and Snapchat shade, internet feuding has become the norm. Intellectual Beef is a prototype site created to change this by providing a controlled environment for people to share their thoughtful opinions on current events. It’s an unbiased forum where dissenting voices are welcome, as long as they are respectful. It’s made with the latest industry technology, and created by four teenage girls.

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The creators of Intellectual Beef present their site at the Girls Who Code Graduation. Photo courtesy of Amy Pinnard Photography.

Emily, Rachel, Karleny, and Maryam are members of Viacom’s 2016 Girls Who Code summer immersion program. They used HTML for its homepage, and created their own code for the information page using a CSS extension in order to make it more aesthetically pleasing. On the back end of the site, the girls used the programming software Meteor to build a discussion page. They designed their own logo and edited the layout using CSS.

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Confused yet? You’re not alone. Even their teachers were baffled. “You take years to learn this kind of stuff in a computer science program,” said Kathryn Vasilaky, one of this year’s teachers.

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How can a seven-week program for teenagers achieve such results? A large part has to do with the way these girls learn. Instead of sitting in a classroom and taking notes, they worked in teams to devise programs that would impact the world, driven by their individual passions and goals.

Viacom recognized their tenacity on Aug. 25, with a graduation ceremony at our Times Square headquarters. Our spacious, lobby-level White Box event space was packed with beaming parents, giddy graduates, Girls Who Code staff members, and Viacom employee mentors, and delectable treats.

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Viacom's Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduates celebrate their hard work, new friendships, and lifelong skills. Read More

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Viacom's Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduates celebrate their hard work, new friendships, and lifelong skills. Read More

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Kim Hicks celebrates another successful summer immersion program. Read More

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Stuart Stuart

Viacom's Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduates celebrate their hard work, new friendships, and lifelong skills. Read More

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Stuart Stuart

Viacom's Girls Who Code summer immersion program graduates celebrate their hard work, new friendships, and lifelong skills. Read More

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Out of all 46 companies hosting GWC summer immersion programs, Viacom offers something singularly appealing to teenage girls. “All the girls were so enthusiastic because it’s a cool place,” said Viacom Chief Technology Officer David Kline. “It’s got great brands, great opportunities, great content, and great people. When you come in to the Viacom family, it feels that way. Like a family.”

“This is our Super Bowl every year,” said Deborah Singer, Girls Who Code’s vice president of marketing and communications. “You have really proved to us this summer that you are really going to make the world a better place.”

Polar Bear Run

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“We decided to make this game because every time we turn on the news we hear about the rising temperature or about the extinction of another species. Our motive is to teach children about the possible extinction of polar bears without sounding like a lecture. Our game is a two-dimensional platform and the goal is to collect cubs. As you play the game, the ice platforms make it harder and harder for the polar bear to reach her cubs. We used HTML, CSS and javascript.”

– Shabrina, Carmen, Lily, and Jenna

U Food

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“Our app is for the ultimate foodie. It has videos, polls such as voting on best pizza restaurants in New York City, as well as simple recipes to follow. It has a Yelp corner to make reservations for specific restaurants. We used HTML and CSS.

For the functionality language, we used JavaScript, and that makes things dynamic. For the Yelp widget, we used API, which stands for the Application Program Interface, and we played around with the language of Python on the back-end, which is essentially what holds the data and what users don’t see. We used the open source framework called Meteor for our chat section. This is to give our site a social networking opportunity.”

– Sarah, Julia, Taj and Alexandra

Psych-to-Go

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“Mental illness is a prominent issue in society that teens face without support. We created a web-based app where teens can find support and resources. In addition to creating a comfortable and safe environment for teens, we used a program called Meteor, a platform that develops forums where users are able to solve problems. We implemented HTML and CSS, different sections so conversations on the forum aren’t jumbled up.”

– Athalea, Grace-Ann, Bryanna, and Kayla

These graduates walked away with a Girls Who Code diploma, a new MacBook laptop, and a sisterly bond with their fellow coders. They are invited to apply for Viacom’s Girls Who Code graduate intern program. They’re on track to possibly attend an Ivy-League school, and work as engineers, programmers, and designers at Fortune 500 companies straight out of college. They emerge with the confidence necessary to thrive in a male-dominated industry. They walk out of Viacom with power.

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