Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, born 14 January 1967

Kimberly Bryant in 2016, credit

Kimberly Bryant was born on 14 January 1967 in Memphis, Tennessee and was enthusiastic about maths and science in school, describing herself as a ‘nerdy girl’. She was awarded a scholarship to study Engineering at university but while there she switched to Electrical Engineering with Computer Science and Maths. During her career she has worked in several industries including pharmaceutical, biotechnology and energy.

She is most known though for founding Black Girls Code. In 2011 her daughter wanted to learn computer programming but nearly all the students on the nearest courses were boys and there were hardly any African American students enrolled. Kimberly didn’t want her daughter to feel isolated (as she herself had felt) so she created Black Girls Code (BGC) to provide after-school and summer school coding lessons for African American girls. BGC has a goal of teaching one million Black girls to code by 2040 and every year thousands of girls learn coding with their peers.

She has received recognition for her work and was given the Jefferson Award for Community Service for the support she offered to girls in her local community, and in 2013 Business Insider included her on its list of The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology. When Barack Obama was the US President the White House website honoured her as one of its eleven Champions of Change in Tech Inclusion – Americans who are “doing extraordinary things to expand technology opportunities for young learners – especially minorities, women and girls, and others from communities historically underserved or underrepresented in tech fields.”

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