Some students spent the summer gaining tech skills and visiting job sites across Manhattan. The bootcamp held a graduation ceremony at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria on Friday. NY1's Tanya Klich reports.
Astoria teen Karina Palacios has always dreamt of becoming a veterinarian. But a summer camp with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math is broadening her horizons.
"It helped me see other things in a different view and knowing that technology is almost everywhere, I want to become part of this evolution in technology," said the tenth grader.
She and 40 other girls from across Queens took part in the Tech Explorers Program at The Young Women's Leadership School (TYWLS) of Astoria.
"We expose them to filming, graphic design, web design and coding," said Andrea Chaves, founder of the Tech Explorers Program at TYWLS.
With the help of computer science counselors, students worked in groups to create prototype web apps, which were presented at an official ceremony.
"I never coded before, so coding out of nowhere was kind of difficult," said Shani Katav, also a student. "Once we started working together and started working it out, we realized we can actually accomplish this."
"The girls are definitely creative and have huge imaginations," said Chaves.
While some apps had fun names like "Popcorn," all the programs the students created were designed to improve people's lives. Med-Diary, for instance, helps users track their medications.
"It was inspired by our grandparents because they take a bunch of medicine, so that way, they have it all in one place and won't be able to forget it," said Katav.
Instructors say programs like these are critical to helping young women find success in the real world.
“Research shows that technology is a male dominated industry right now,” said Robin White, external affairs manager at AT&T. The company recently partnered with the organization.
Participants also spent time over the summer visiting tech offices across Manhattan, including Microsoft and BuzzFeed.
"We asked the companies to have female role models so that the girls could see it is possible," said Chaves.
"I'd love to work at BuzzFeed," said Katav.
"I would love to work at Google," said Palacios.
Now, these Silicon Alley dreams are within reach for these Queens students.