Black Girls CODE Building Tech Exploration Lab in New York

From Minecraft labs to makerspaces, schools are focused on providing more students with opportunities to tinker with tech and design new innovations. More and more schools realize the need to not just focus on core content areas but also to integrate and prepare students with a new skill set so that they are prepared for jobs of the future.

One organization, Black Girls CODE, is steadfast on ensuring these opportunities are specifically reaching girls from underrepresented communities. Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been providing young girls with access to the technology and training necessary to become tech leaders. Their goal is to increase the number of women in color in tech fields.

“By teaching the girls programming and game design, we hope to have started the lifelong process of developing in them a true love for technology and the self-confidence that comes from understanding the greatest tools of the 21st century.” – Black Girls CODE website

To date, Black Girls CODE has over fourteen chapters and regularly offers hackathons and workshops. This week they announced one more effort to reach this goal. Black Girls Code partnered with Kurani to  design the Black Girls CODE Lab, which is co-located in Google’s New York Office.

The lab will be outfitted with the newest and latest tech– ranging from VR to circuit boards lining the walls. The design of the space was intentionally made to reveal and expose aspects of tech that were required to create the structure, allowing the girls to learn from the space itself.

Workshops, events, hackathons and more will be available at the Lab.

For more, read the full press release:

Black Girls CODE Building Tech Exploration Lab in New York
Non-Profit teams up with Kurani architects to build tech lab and teach a million girls to code

New York, NY, June 18, 2018 — Black Girls CODE, the non-profit with a cult-like following for its mission to teach computer science to girls, has partnered with design guru Kurani to revamp 3,900 square feet of space at Google’s New York offices into a tech exploration lab for girls.

Construction on the lab has begun (June 2018) and starting this fall, girls in New York can channel their inner Shuri — Black Panther’s inventive-genius sister — with a lab of their own.

According to Kurani founder Danish Kurani, “We designed the lab for kids to see how technology works inside. What’s inside a smartphone, how does a circuit board use copper, are there similarities between cameras and computers. The design takes us back to breaking things open and exploring how they’re made. When you remove the mysterious shell, the girls can see that tech is just parts and pieces, hardware and software they can tinker with and design themselves.”

Visitors to the lab and girls attending workshops will be able to play with an assortment of gadgets curated and cracked-open by the staff. The lab has an interactive game challenging kids to match popular products like VR headsets and a Playstation with their lesser-known hardware insides. Even the ceiling is special, demonstrating how a motherboard works with its copper circuits.

The space, across from Chelsea Market, will be a home for BGC staff, student workshops, hack-a-thons, tech panels, and parent-daughter events. According to Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE, “The renovation of our space in the Google building in New York into this design lab is just a first step in our much larger vision to create a series of innovative design labs in several of the communities where we have BGC chapters. It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at Kurani to bring our first design lab to life and to create a space which centers our tech divas as tech innovators and allows them to tap into their inner Shuris to build the technology which will shape all of our future tomorrows.”

The project brings together two impact-driven organizations in efforts to empower the next-generation of women and tech leaders.

Kurani previously designed a similar lab for Google Code Next, an initiative by the tech giant to bring STEM opportunities to underserved communities and empower students of color to explore careers in tech.

About Kurani
Kurani is an architecture studio committed to improving the places where people learn. Kurani’s campuses, buildings, and interiors empower educators to teach in bold new ways. The studio has designed spaces for K-12, university, and adult education. Kurani was founded in 2013 by architect Danish Kurani, an instructor at Harvard University and OECD expert on learning spaces.

About Black Girls CODE
Since 2011, Black Girls CODE has been committed to providing girls from underrepresented community’s access to technology and 21st century skills necessary to become tech leaders. Having reached more than 8,000 young women in 14 chapters around the world, Black Girls CODE’s organizational vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Emily Liebtag

Emily Liebtag, Ed.D., is Education Reimagined's Senior Partner for Systems Transformation. Formerly, Emily served as the Vice President of Advocacy at Getting Smart.

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