Special to the Reporter
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D – WA) spoke to the Girls Who Code summer immersion class at AT&T’s Redmond offices on Aug. 15, highlighting the vital role that technology plays in almost all aspects of our lives and the importance of diversity when it comes to solving the biggest problems ahead of us.
“We need more women who understand technology and are excited about what they can do with it to help change the world,” DelBene told the class, noting her own path working in technology – at Microsoft and at smaller start-ups – prior to running for office.
DelBene, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is co-chair of the Women’s Tech Caucus and Internet of Things Caucus, talked about the role that technology plays in industries ranging from fashion to agriculture and encouraged the students to figure out what it is that they’re passionate about and work to solve the problems facing that sector.
The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a seven-week program for 10th- and 11th-grade students. The curriculum is based around learning computer science, programming and design through real-world projects in video games, robotics, art and more. This is the third year that AT&T has hosted a Girls Who Code class.
When asked by one of the students about where technology is headed in the future, DelBene said: “The huge change now is how technology becomes much more foundational. It won’t be that you just take a tech course, it will be a part of everything you do.” And that’s why, she said, one of the issues that needs to be solved is the inequality of opportunity when it comes to technology in schools.
“It’s uneven in terms of what’s available in different schools,” she said. “We have to make sure schools have internet access and connectivity, so that everyone has the opportunity to learn.”
For this group of students, DelBene had one piece of parting advice: “One goal I have for all of you is to be lifelong learners. Things change so fast and we can’t ever stop learning.”