“After experiencing the power of code myself, I knew I had to do my part to help girls know they could pursue it, too.”
In a piece for Teen Vogue, Karlie talks about one of her passions: teaching young girls how to code.
She starts with the proud declaration that she’s “always been a math and science nerd.” She even dreamt of a career in those fields – until her fashion career took off when she was scouted at the age of 15. Despite her incredible success as a model, Karlie never lost her love for science. She quickly developed an interest in code, the computer language used to make the computer programs that underpin almost all the software our civilisation relies on.
Karlie took her first coding class three years ago. In that class, she didn’t just learn the programming languages that allowed her to build apps and program a drone’s flight route. She also learnt two other important things: one, that an understanding of code is crucial in our rapidly progressing digital world; and two, that there weren’t enough girls in code and tech fields.
So she did what anyone would do: start a foundation to teach young girls how to code.
“I founded Kode With Klossy to empower girls to learn to code and become leaders in tech,” Karlie writes.
The foundation offers free coding classes for girls aged 13-18 in multiple cities across the US. The first run of classes in 2015 was so successful, the foundation expanded its reach across more cities and introduced a career scholarship for young women who want to pursue a career in coding. Applications for the Kode With Klossy 2017 intake just opened today.
“This summer, we’ll welcome a new class of students to the program, a sisterhood of ambitious young women who know that knowledge is a superpower, and that by learning to code, they can become the kind of superheroes who change the world.”
And she’s absolutely right – her Kode With Klossy graduates have gone on to do incredible things, including winning a world-renowned hackathon, enrolled in computer science and engineering classes, developed websites, and so on! One of her students even went on to start her own digital magazine with her new-found coding knowledge.
“They are astonishing, they are driven, and they are ready — not just to get in the game, but to change it entirely,” Karlie says of girls in tech. “There is real power in bringing together like-minded women who want to BE the change they hope to see in the world.”
As for Karlie, her own coding journey is going along nicely. She’s enrolled in New York University’s independent study program and will soon appear as a correspondent on the popular science show, Bill Nye Saves The World.