Divita Taduvayi, 17, of Bear, Delaware, a senior at Mot Charter School, launched a nonprofit last year that aims to narrow the gender gap in STEM careers by introducing elementary school girls to fundamental computer science concepts. “I have been interested in computer science ever since I walked the model-rocket-lined halls of my middle school STEM basement,” Divita said. “However, it took me until my junior year in high school before I was comfortable in the computer science field, having faced many setbacks in my self-confidence.”
Realizing that many girls faced similar challenges, Divita resolved to make the study of science and technology easier for them. She came up with the concept for a program called “Girls Tech Together” that would include activities, coding lessons and interaction with professionals in the field. After developing logos, fliers and a curriculum, Divita persuaded a local Boys and Girls Club to host a pilot program. But her classes quickly came to a halt when the facility had to close because of COVID-19. So she switched to a virtual approach. She built a website, partnered with an elementary school that had plenty of girls eager to learn, and began teaching a five-week course online. The class was so popular that Divita recruited fellow high school volunteers to help, invited technology professionals to speak about their fields, and contacted major corporations for donations. So far, Divita has personally helped more than 120 girls from 10 local schools and three overseas schools learn the basics of computer science, as well as how to use technology to address environmental, racial, educational, medical and agricultural issues in their communities.