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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, January 16, 2015

'Girls Who Code' founder speaking in Saratoga Jan. 24

Science. Technology. Engineering. Math.
Reshma Saujani is the speaker for the
Cabin Fever luncheon Jan. 24 in Saratoga Springs.
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Combined, they form STEM, an acronym for what students ought to be studying to fill well-paying jobs in the public and private sectors.
Many of our local schools, elementary through post-graduate, are focusing on STEM. More than a million STEM-related jobs are expected to be open up in the next four years — “but there won’t be enough qualified graduates to fill them,” according to a federal government website,
Next Saturday, we have an opportunity to hear firsthand from a woman who has been in the front lines of preparing young women for jobs in technology. Reshma Saujani, founder of the national nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, is the speaker at the Cabin Fever Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 24, in Saratoga Springs. I’ll be there, for sure, and seats are still available. (See below for details unabashedly plugging the event.)
Saujani’s interests and experience may be rooted in STEM, but her reach is much broader. Her website describes her as “a true political entrepreneur (who) has been fearless in her efforts to disrupt both politics and technology to create positive change.”
It’s not bragging. A graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Yale Law School, her recognition includes being named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, and Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World. Her book, “Women Who Don't Wait in Line,” is about female leadership and, as summed up by the Daily Beast, “talks about running for public office and having the courage to fail.”
Saujani is an Illinois native of Indian descent, has been a lawyer, a congressional candidate, and Deputy Public Advocate of New York City. Her political platform focused on “creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process.”
Which brings us back to STEM and Girls Who Code.
The website succinctly states its mission and vision:  “To inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.”
Boys ought to have those skills, too. But as people in the STEM fields will attest, girls have catching up to do.
“We believe that more girls exposed to computer science at a young age will lead to more women working in the technology and engineering fields,” explains
Among the exciting things about Girls Who Code and Saujani’s other work is her success in bringing together leaders in the public and private sectors —  educators, engineers, and business — and combining instruction, mentoring, entrepreneuship and civic engagement.   
Now, about the Cabin Fever Luncheon. It is hosted by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, the local branch of an international public service organization that I’ve belonged to for more than three decades.
Soroptimist efforts address both local and global issues, such as domestic violence, human trafficking, grants to local nonprofits, and scholarships to women and girls improving themselves through education and community service. The group has two big fund-raisers each year, the Secret Gardens Tour (July 12 this year) and the Cabin Fever Luncheon.

To sign up for the luncheon or learn more about Soroptimists, visit or call 581-1201 ext. 4184.


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