Kode with Klossy is a national coding non-profit company co-founded in 2015 by supermodel, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Karlie Kloss. Since the initial camp four years ago, consisting of 21 total students, Kode with Klossy exponentially grew each consecutive year, now awarding camp scholarships to thousands of young girls nationwide. From July 7th through July 17th, I participated in the Los Angeles Kode with Klossy camp, taught by instructors Lucas Dembart and Marnie Reid, as well as our instructor assistants, Isabella Hochschild, Donna Moon, and Hana Stauss. The majority of the students were from the Los Angeles area, and ranged from rising freshmen in high school to rising freshmen in college.
In the span of 2 weeks, through daily Zoom calls and coding lessons, the students utilized the programming language Swift, iOS Application developer XCode, and group coding platform GitHub. Participants split into Zoom breakout rooms of 4 students to develop an iOS application, ranging from uses such as an educational epilepsy awareness to resources for sustainability to combat climate change.
My group created “Outside the Box”, an application that creates a safe space for unique youth that do not fit in societal norms and expectations, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, youth with physical disabilities, or teenagers suffering from mental health issues. The application provides a dictionary with definitions of words helpful to people learning more about different genders, mental health disorders, and physical disabilities. There is also a “Word of the Day” and “Story of the Day”, designed to provide a spotlight on a new vocabulary word and short story daily.
My favorite part of the camp was the lectures and discussions about the culture in technology, emphasizing the importance of online activism, gender equality in the STEM field, and digital divide in low-income communities. Although I loved the syntactical lessons for “if-else” statements and creating variables, the welcoming, open class discussions were my favorite part, as I listened to empowering female youth share their thoughts on the double-edged sword of technology.
Throughout the 2 weeks, over 450 camp instructors, students, and female guest speakers shared their experience and knowledge about their work in a unique, interdisciplinary STEM field. For example, Catie Cuan, Berkeley graduate and Stanford PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering, is a choreographer, performer, and researcher who uses her natural talent in dance to help make robot movement and automation more fluid and cohesive. Her work has been featured on PBS Newshour, CBS’ Mission Unstoppable, Stanford Magazine, and Forbes Podcasts.
When Jazmeen Maya, incoming freshman at University of California, Irvine, was asked what her experience with the camp was like, she stated, “One of our accomplishments with this app was having strong communication skills with one another, which allowed us to organize our ideas and turn them into the app we are presenting today. This overall helped us bond and overcome the awkwardness that comes with meeting someone new through Zoom”.
This camp was definitely one of the highlights of my summer, and I encourage other girls who are interested in coding to check it out next year.