JR Report: Words Of Wisdom At The Wired25 Festival

October 26, 2018

Junior Reporter Gabriela G. scored a press pass to attend Wired Magazine’s 25th Anniversary Festival and got the scoop on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Plus, she met some pretty amazing young coders from the organization, “Black Girls Code”. Check out her story below!

Panel Discussion: Black Girls Code

By Gabriela G.

I went to Wired magazine’s twenty-fifth anniversary party. Wired is a technology magazine subscription. The event was awesome! You could design a water bottle with just the power of your own brain waves. There was a robot petting zoo and unlimited free candy! What I most enjoyed though was Black Girls Code.

Alexis Ohanian and Jewel Burks with Black Girls Code

Black Girls Code is a non-profit computer science organization that exposes young women of color to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). I got the privilege to attend a private panel discussion with Jewel Burks, Alexis Ohanian, and about thirty Black Girls Code members. Jewel and Alexis talked about the challenges, victories, and steps of being an entrepreneur.

Alexis Ohanian and Jewel Burks share what it takes to be entrepreneurs

Jewel is the co-founder of Partpic, an app that allows you to take a picture of part of a mechanical device for replacement. You send the picture to Partpic, and it then sends you the part!

Alexis is the co-founder of Reddit, a website with discussion boards on almost every topic. When the panelist asked Jewel and Alexis to give a tweet-sized piece of advice, this is what they said:

“To be an entrepreneur, you have to be a little too ambitious. Your business idea has to be way out there, so that it is so crazy that no one else has ever thought about it.” – Alexis

“Never give up. Be persistent! Regardless of what people say, push forward and pursue your dreams.” – Jewel

I think it is cool to find something that already exists and make it even better.

I interviewed a few Black Girls Code members, and I really enjoyed talking to fifteen-year-old Cadence Patrick.

Cadence Patrick from Black Girls Code

Cadence had super cool blue dreadlocks and big, clear glasses. She asked a very well-thought-out question at the panel discussion, so I asked her a few things. Cadence has been part of Black Girls Code for three years and this is what she told me: “My first event was a Hackathon, where I created my own app. Since then, I’ve been super active with Black Girls Code.” When I asked her what opportunities Black Girls Code has given her over the past three years, she told me, “I’ve gone on so many cool trips and spoken at a few conferences. At the end of the month, I’m going to a developers’ conference in Europe. I’m excited to see the Czech Republic!” Thanks, Cadence!

I also interviewed fourteen-year-old Aly Scott, who is a Black Girls Code member too.

“My favorite Black Girls Code project was when I made a program for a robot my friend and I constructed from scratch.” When I asked Aly who she looked up to in Black Girls Code, she said, “I look up to some of the older girls because they have been learning how to code for a long time. They are so good and I’m so excited to be like that too one day!”

Selah Titus with Junior Reporter Gabriela G.
Ela Giftgi with Junior Reporter Gabriela G.

I asked Selah Titus, age eleven, some questions as well. “My favorite event in Black Girls Code was not actually related to coding. Alexis Ohanian took us to go see Black Panther with Serena Williams. I was super excited to meet Serena Williams. She’s my idle!”

Just as we were leaving, I stopped twelve-year-old Ela Giftgi to ask her a few questions. I asked her what it means to be part of Black Girls Code.

She answered, “I am very proud to be part of this small percentage of women and girls who can code. Black Girls Code has helped me so much and I feel very accomplished for my age.”

I was greatly inspired by this awesome organization, and I hope you are too.