Sophie Maniscalco and Kailin Zhang: Supergirls Code

Supergirls Code is an organization started by two high school friends, Sophie Maniscalco and Kailin Zhang, to empower girls through teaching them how to code. Supergirls Code began around February of last year, but it took a while to get the first class started. So far Supergirls Code has had a library class and currently has a regular weekly after school club! Girls across the country have reached out, looking to start chapters within their communities. Sophie and Kailin’s own experiences as young women learning how to code in a male-dominated field motivated, as well as inspired, them to start Supergirls Code.

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We absolutely love that Supergirls Code is inspiring other girls to start coding, as well as inspiring high school girls to teach these younger girls how to code. We really hope to encourage these girls to pursue their interests in computer science.
— Sophie Maniscalco, co-founder of Supergirls Code.
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Both Sophie and Kailin participated in Kode with Klossy, a summer camp founded by Karlie Kloss to teach girls to code, and after Kode with Kloss ended they wanted to learn more coding skills and began to look around their city, St. Louis, for opportunities. While they found a few opportunities, such as their high schools’ robotics teams, Built By Girls, various hackathons (they won first place for youth in the GlobalHack Hackathon!), and classes at their schools, they could not find an after-school club just for girls to learn how to code. After this, they realized that other girls, particularly around St. Louis, must experience the same issues and that it must be even more difficult for younger girls to find coding opportunities geared towards girls. This issue especially stuck out to them because of the fact that young girls tend to be extremely interested in computer science and coding, but once they reach middle school and high school these interests decrease because of the limited opportunities available for them to learn how to code.

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The most rewarding part of Supergirls Code is definitely seeing the girls find that inspiration to continue pursuing their interests. The girls have grown so much since the first class and it’s been so exciting to be a part of that journey and see their passion and excitement for learning.
— Kailin Zhang, co-founder of Supergirls Code

That’s when they knew coding opportunities weren’t just going to magically appear for these girls, someone was going to have to take the initiative and start it. So, they started Supergirls Code. Sophie and Kailin have been working on spreading Supergirls Code ever since then in hopes of inspiring and teaching more young girls to code. They eventually would love for Supergirls Code to spread throughout many states, teaching as many girls to code as possible. Besides working on Supergirls Code, Sophie would either like to study political science and go into politics or combine both of her loves of coding and fashion in the future and Kailin looks forward to pursuing her interests in computer science, as well as fashion and business!

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Zehra Naqvi