When I joined Square Root as the Happiness Captain 2.5 years ago I certainly did not think my career would take me there. But to quote a fellow radical from our recent culture survey, “My career has gone places I never expected in the best way.” So has mine. One of those places has been as the champion for our partnership with the local nonprofit, Girlstart.
Girlstart brings STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education to young girls ages 8 – 14, especially in underserved areas. Their programs help build STEM skills while also introducing girls to STEM careers and female role models. We have lots of kiddos in the Square Root family, including many techies with daughters, so a partnership with GirlStart just made sense for us.
Now that I have a daughter of my own, our relationship with GirlStart has taken on a new meaning for me. My dad is an engineer so I grew up with a love of science and math. Weekday evenings at home consisted of mental math games with my dad and weekends involved experiments like what happens if I pour salt on a slug. My dad pushed me to be curious and ask why. I want to bring that same sense wonder into my daughter’s life. Girlstart has given me the opportunity to not only have the resources to give her that when she’s older, but also allowed me to get involved now.
As a recruiter I’m faced everyday with the fact that there are less women in tech than men. At Square Root, we believe in diversity in tech. We’re not just actively recruiting for diversity, but we’re also helping the next generation of female engineers on their path. How are we doing it? Let’s get back to the binary code…
Recently we attended Girlstart’s STEM Conference as a workshop presenter. Our activity was introducing the concept of binary code, teaching girls to count in binary code, and then having them make bracelets where the pattern of the beads represented their initials or birthday in binary code. We kicked off our workshop by asking the girls if we had any future software developers in the room. We had a couple of maybes, but for the most part it was crickets. By the end of our workshop not only had I along with the girls learned basic binary code, but when we asked if we had any software developers in the room—several hands shot right up. That was success for us!
Here’s to hoping in a decade or so we’ll be welcoming at least one of those girls to the team. In the meantime if you want to join our bunch, apply now.
Square Root was also recently recognized for being a Great Workplace for Giving Back by Fortune Magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute. Read more about this recognition.