East Coast Regional Director of Girls Who Code
With a background in international relations and technology, Elizabeth Caudle has spent much of her career applying skills gleaned from her background in international relations and technology to a variety of educational efforts. After spending two years in Paris working for the World Innovation Summit for Education (an initiative that focuses on improving education around the world through technology), Caudle came back to the United States to work for the World Science Festival, a non-profit organization that promotes scientific awareness within the general public before going on to work with the non-profit Girls Who Code, where she eventually moved up to become the Regional Director the East Coast.
The mission of Girls Who Code is simple: Expose girls to computer science at a young age, thus potentially breaking down barriers women face in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. Today, women are represented in much lower numbers in these industries (just 12 percent of all computer science graduates right now are women, a significant decrease since the early 80s) and Girls Who Code believes that by introducing young women and girls to coding, those numbers can change.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for an organization that is literally numbers-focused, Girls Who Code has a very specific goal in mind: It aims to reach 1 million young women by 2020, a number they project will lead to gender parity in computing-related jobs. At the moment, just 25 percent of tech and computing related jobs in the United States are held by women, and for every 25 engineers just three of them are women.
Caudle has not only helped expose young girls to technology and computer science here in New York City, but she has also recently brought the initiative abroad. Last year, she acted as coach and representative of Girls Who Code at EU Coding Week, which was also sponsored by the US Embassy in Italy. And Caudle doesn’t just run the big picture of the the non-profit in New York City, she’s also active in teaching the actual courses, including introductory robotics, web development, and data structures.
But what about Caudle herself? Did anyone teach her coding as a kid? Not exactly: While Caudle was very active in science as a child, she went on to study international relations in college, and coding was something she arrived at later in life. “I’ve actually pursued my CS education independently, like a lot of young adults,” Caudle tells us. So, you see, it’s never too late.