While women earn 57% of Bachelor’s degrees in the United States, only 12% are awarded computer science degrees, according to code.org.
Kode with Karlie, or #KodewithKarlie, was the initiative and scholarship that arose from that statistic.
Back in 2014, Karlie Kloss, supermodel and entrepreneur, met Flatiron School’s co-founder and dean, Avi Flombaum, and the two — one a tech wiz and the other a tech newb — hit it off and started what soon became one of Flatiron School’s most successful initiatives on the front of diversity and equality in tech. Kloss, who hadn’t done much more than dabble in coding, agreed to join one of Flatiron School’s two-week pre-college programs to test her skills and get an idea of what all the fuss was about.
After those two weeks, Kloss had built her first web app and was enamored with the coding world. Shortly thereafter, she committed to making it more accessible to tech-curious girls across the country and in Europe.
And with that, the Kode with Karlie scholarship was born at Flatiron School.
In the summer of 2016, Kode with Karlie scholars took a full-time course exploring concepts in back-end software engineering. By the end of two weeks, they learned Ruby — a robust, yet accessible programming language used to power apps like Twitter. They created web apps in collaboration with fellow classmates, ranging from first aid advice apps to supplemental learning tools. The projects — fittingly so — were just as varied as the group of students who made them.
“Code is only going to continue to play a major role in defining our future,” says Kloss. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we as young women has a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.”
As part of the application process for Kloss and Flatiron’s summer collaborations, girls across the country were asked to submit a video explaining why they, specifically, wanted to learn to code and gain exposure with the tech world. 600 applications later, the first summer of coding began, teaching core programming concepts like Git, as well as Ruby.
an example of a Kode with Klossy application video
The initiative was one of the biggest — of many — initiatives by Flatiron School to promote diversity and equality not only in coding but in the tech industry overall.