Our mission is to empower incoming-freshmen women by facilitating an environment in which they can explore the vast world of computer science and its intersections. CS Kickstart hosts a week-long program for incoming freshman girls before the start of the school year. Through this, we aim to equip them with the tools they need for success at UC Berkeley and their future careers through various opportunities in CS. Our program holds a unique position in the lives of most students, as it is often their first-ever exposure to computer science. For these individuals, this initial encounter can be transformative, sparking curiosity and potentially paving the way for their future educational and career paths. We have the potential to ignite a passion for CS and demonstrate its relevance in the students’ respective majors.
Our program strives to achieve the following:
- Skill Development: We provide a comprehensive introduction to python programming, web development, web design, data science, and electrical engineering in which our curriculum nurtures a strong foundation of technology and allows students to consider the career paths they are most interested in. 97% of students reported that CS Kickstart gave them a better sense of what computer science is. The funds will enable us to provide top-notch learning materials, resources, and experienced instructors for our lessons throughout the week. Students engage with the material through hands-on experiences such as labs and their own individual projects to apply the concepts they learned throughout the week.
- Industry Insight: With your support, we can organize enriching visits to startups and established tech companies in Silicon Valley. Participants will have the chance to interact with industry professionals, gain insights into real-world applications of technology, and be inspired by success stories. In each field trip, we engage in conversations with female industry experts to foster inspiration and deepen understanding, focusing on how to overcome obstacles as a female in the tech industry.
- Smooth Transition: We prepare incoming freshmen for the challenges and opportunities of college life. Your contribution will allow us to continue providing mentorship, club panels, industry panels, professional workshops, and discussions with professors during the week to provide students with a confident start to their academic journey. CS Kickstart also teaches the students fundamental skills that are commonly used in introductory classes, providing them with a headstart in their first year of college. 93% of students felt prepared to take their first computer science courses at UC Berkeley. Furthermore, we meet with CS Kickstart alumni throughout the year which allows participants to better understand their own journey at Cal.
- Community and Empowerment: We foster a tight-knit and empowering community among participants in different ways. The funds will facilitate the organization of engaging social activities like ice cream socials and mixers with faculty during the week as well as dinner events and networking events with alumni throughout the year which create lasting connections and a sense of belonging. When incoming freshmen girls have the chance to engage with those who have successfully navigated the CS journey, it instills a sense of possibility and inspiration. This network becomes a safety net and a source of wisdom, allowing current participants to envision their own success and understand that they are part of a supportive and thriving community.
Starting college can be intimidating, especially for those entering a male-dominated field. We strive to give incoming freshmen girls the chance to get to know their future classmates ahead of time as we foster early connections and allow participants to find like-minded peers who share their aspirations and challenges. 92.5% of participants reported that they found friends who are also interested in computer science through CS Kickstart. This pre-established support network helps counter feelings of isolation that can hinder success, particularly for underrepresented groups. Furthermore, we support students’ academic growth by providing them with a curriculum that will equip students with valuable technical skills, which can be applied to projects, coursework, research, internships, interviews, and more. We also foster connections between students and the tech industry through alumni events and help them prepare for their professional journeys through workshops such as resume-building. By donating to our cause, you will directly contribute to empowering a new generation of underrepresented women in computer science. Your support will enable us to provide a transformative experience that equips them with valuable skills, industry exposure, and a supportive network as they embark on their CS educational journey.