Learn from Smart Women

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These days, it seems like there are endless articles discussing the lack of women in tech.  And while the blatant vacancy is a legitimate issue, it’s frustrating to read about a persistent problem without any accompanying suggestions of how to fix it.

So you can imagine how proud I am to say I work for a company that is part of the solution.

Reactor Core is a network of coding schools nationwide that include Telegraph Academy, Hack Reactor, Mobile Makers Academy, and MakerSquare.  On March 8th (just in time for International Women’s Day), we announced that Capital One, in an effort to end the pervasive problem and close the gap within the technological field, would begin sponsoring scholarships for female coders at Telegraph Academy.


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I admire all the work that our schools undertake, but I'm particularly inspired by Telegraph Academy’s mission to empower people from underrepresented communities.  Given that women currently comprise approximately 20% of the software engineer community, Capital One’s sponsorship, which includes fully funded scholarships for female coders at Telegraph Academy and the subsequent opportunity to join the banking company for a three month paid internship, is particularly groundbreaking.  It's precisely these kinds of opportunities that empower women in the tech sector who may have previously felt discouraged, and in doing so, work to reduce the pervasive gender imbalance in this industry. 

The truth is, some of the most exciting applications and start-ups today are spearheaded by women.  Hack Reactor alum, Kate Jenkins, uses Brahms, a proprietary software developed for NASA, in order to track the biometrics and behavior of astronauts.  Her company, Ejenta, then uses this information to make advances in healthcare, defense, and robotics.  Aysegul Yonet, also a Hack Reactor alum, is a Senior Software Engineer at Autodesk, as well as the CTO of AnnieCanons, a nonprofit that trains human trafficking survivors how to code.  Across other tech sectors, women are paving the way in innovation as well.  Front, an email collaboration system and general lifesaver in the workplace, is led by Mathilde Colin, and Learnvest, which facilitates financial planning, was founded by Alexa Von Tobel.  The roles that these women play demonstrate the incredible strides women have made in tech, but it's clear we still have a ways to go before equality is achieved.  Sponsorships like Capital One’s provide the necessary opportunities women require in order to continue making strides and closing this gender gap.


Given that women comprise 20% of the software engineer community, Capital One’s sponsorship is particularly groundbreaking.


Not surprisingly, Capital One has been a long-time activist for females in tech.  Prior to sponsoring Telegraph Academy, the company provided support for Women Who Code, Black Girls Code, and the Anita Borg Institute.  ‘All of these efforts give us the chance to impact positive change in the way girls and women see themselves and their abilities,’ said Julie Elberfield, Capital One SVP of Computer Banking Technology.

The opportunities this initiative will evoke, and the impact that the women who receive this scholarship will go on to have, are just beginning.  But here at Reactor Core, and amongst our network of schools, there’s an undeniable feeling of excitement and possibility in the air.  In addition to Telegraph Academy’s exciting partnership with Capital One, Hack Reactor Remote Beta will also be partnering with Women Who Code to offer 50 women full scholarships to Hack Reactor Remote Prep.  (Learn more here!)  As Bianca Gandolfo, co-founder of Telegraph Academy said, ‘We believe that opportunity is everything.’  And I, for one, couldn’t agree more.


Jackie Berkman is a Communications Specialist at Reactor Core, a network of coding schools nationwide. She is passionate about Education Technology, enjoys getting into debates about films, and is a fiction writer.


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