Kode with Klossy Keeps the Momentum Going

How Karlie Kloss’s Coding Camp Makes Strides for Women in Technology


Mark Cheng

‘Your winner’s dream is the essence of who you are. So imagine it, be ever loyal to it, and be forever inspired by it.” Bill McDermott’s quote above us encaptures the drive all of the women in my group during their time in Kode with Klossy.

When supermodel Karlie Kloss is not walking on the runway, she is earning titles as a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and coder. Taking on the roles of entrepreneur and coder, Kloss began a non-profit coding camp. This summer, a group of girls and I participated in this two week program, Kode with Klossy.

In the Mobile Development class, my classmates and I learned to program with Swift, a language that Apple Inc. created for developing applications on their mobile operating systems (such as iOS, macOS and others). Karlie Kloss also has a web development class as part of the camp focusing on using Javascript, HTML, and CSS. The two weeks worth of learning culminated in our final project, coding a functional iOS application in two days. At the end of the program, we presented our applications in front of our families and friends.

Throughout the camp, there was a lot to learn about the disparities within the programming industry, especially those that impact women. The statistics reveal the already low amount of women in computer science. African-American women make up only three percent of the computing workforce, while Hispanic women make up a meager two percent. Meanwhile in high schools all over the country, only 28% of students who took the AP Computer Science A exam were female. Such a disparity is what drove Kloss to start the program.

Victoria Ono ’19 was an instructional assistant at the Austin, Texas location this summer as well as at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania location last summer. Now a student at Harvard University, she plans to major in physics or astrophysics and minor in computer science.

Raitah Jinnat
A rainbow stands out amidst the SAP Innovations skyline.

Her drive to study computer science started back when she took an introductory computer science course as a sophomore at Bronx Science. She had been hearing that “everyone should learn how to code.” It was a spontaneous decision, but she came to love creating mini-games on Python and designing websites.

Ono originally joined Kode with Klossy the summer of sophomore year because “the community seemed more tight-knit than any other female empowerment communities I’d known.” She felt welcomed in a space where all of the girls there were able to share excitement over what was seen as a “boy’s thing.”

“I learned from this program how privileged we—as Bronx Science students—are when it comes to access to STEM education. I met so many girls whose schools did not have CS classes or computer labs, who are in need of programs like Kode with Klossy to explore STEM fields,” Ono said.

This privilege can be seen in the various opportunities that Bronx Science offers for its students interested in STEM, such as its research programs and internships.

“STEM is difficult, but not impossible. We’ve seen so much change in the last few years—we must keep the momentum going,” Ono said when asked to give advice to girls wanting to pursue STEM fields.

Kode with Klossy meanwhile is simply one of the many initiatives maintaining that momentum.

“STEM is difficult, but not impossible. We’ve seen so much change in the last few years—we must keep the momentum going,” Ono said.