Code Like A Mom

 
This Mother’s Day, NCWIT is excited to partner with Code.org on a campaign to celebrate and encourage mothers and daughters who code. When we started searching for these mother/daughter coding pairs, we didn’t quite know what to expect. We were blown away by the amazing responses, and thrilled to see how many daughters are following in their mothers’ footsteps.
 
It also made us look internally, to recognize some of the incredible coding moms we have right here at NCWIT, including our Associate Director and CTO, Terry Morreale. She shared a story with us about the importance of being a tech role model for her daughter. 
When my daughter was little, one of her favorite stories was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But, I always had to change the ending. In our version, it went something like this, “…and Snow White woke from her long slumber, went to college, and lived happily ever after.” It wasn’t until she learned to read that she realized I was altering the words. She asked me about it one day and I told her that Snow White had many, many things she wanted to accomplish in this world, and that she needed a college degree to do them.
 
I never told my daughter Snow White’s major in college; it was about Snow White having the ability to do anything she wanted in her life. That’s the same reason I think it’s important for technical women to be role models for their own daughters. Our daughters are not necessarily going to follow in our footsteps and get degrees in computing fields. But they need to know that it’s an option, and that they can pursue any career they want to pursue.
 
My daughter is now a junior in high school. And she’s looking not only at colleges, but also at degree programs. Although computing is not currently at the top of her list, her list is wide and changes frequently, and I think that’s a very good thing. Maybe she’ll choose computing, maybe she won’t, but she does know that just like Snow White, she’ll be going to college and living happily ever after no matter what fields of study she ultimately chooses.
We also heard from some coding daughters. Kate Miller, is an Award for Aspirations in Computing recipient and a Candidate for B.S.E. in Computer and Information Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She shared with us the significance of seeing her mother as a role model and resource. 
 
The biggest thing my mom has taught me is a sense of perspective. Not being able to memorize every line of code isn't important, because professional life isn't one midterm exam after another; being able to learn is what's critical. It's been really wonderful having a resource to understand what life will be like when I graduate from college. Being able to share a professional network, and constantly ask for advice or help, is invaluable.
Throughout this weekend we’ll be sharing more stories on our Facebook and Twitter profiles, and we hope to hear more stories about moms as tech mentors. We have many resources to help you encourage your daughters to get involved. For example, take a look at “Top 10 Ways to Increase Girls' Participation in Computing Competitions.”
 
Happy Mother’s Day!