A Supermodel Just Invested in the Future of Technology: Teen Girls

The Kode With Karlie Scholarship will allow 20 girls to learn software engineering at the Flatiron School.
Apr 10, 2015·
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

Karlie Kloss is a Victoria’s Secret supermodel; noted best friend to Time’s woman leader of the year, Taylor Swift; a health-conscious cookie entrepreneur; and now, a bold disrupter of Silicon Valley’s notorious boys ’club.

The 22-year-old has partnered with New York’s Flatiron School, which offers courses on Web development, to create the Kode With Karlie Scholarship for American high school girls ages 13 to 18. The 20 girls chosen for the full-time, two-week program offered in eight cities will learn back-end software engineering through Ruby, a programming language used in apps such as Twitter. It’s the same two-week summer program Kloss herself enrolled in a year ago, and it culminates with each student building her own app.

“Code is only going to continue to play a major role in defining our future,” Kloss says in the program’s promotional video. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we as young women have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.”

Kloss’ scholarship comes at a time when the number of women entering technology is declining. Women earned 12 percent of computer science degrees in 2012, down from 37 percent in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. And while about 75 percent of middle school girls show interest in science, engineering, and math, just 0.3 percent major in computer science in college, according to Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, The New York Times reported.

For those who think coding is just about programming numbers and alogrithms, Kloss has news for you: “Coding is a form of self-expression—it’s a way to turn a cool, innovative idea into a product, website, app, tool, or experience.” Who knows? The girls chosen for Kode With Karlie might just develop the code of our generation.