‘Girls Who Code’

Aruzhan Koshkarova, a Y13 pupil at Haileybury Almaty is already famous in Silicon Valley following her win last year in an international IT competition. She also met with Google's CEO and was interviewed by Teen Vogue.

Over the summer, Aruzhan took part in a Summer Immersion Programme, organized by ‘Girls Who Code’ in Boston, Massachusetts.

Aruzhan continues to be a splendid ambassador for Haileybury as she promotes the involvement of females in IT and encourages them to learn more about it.

Please read Aruzhan’s story below:

"This summer was special for me! On the morning of May 1st 2018, I received an invitation letter from 'Girls Who Code'. Since this programme is designed for High School pupils within the United States, the participation of international students has previously not been provided; therefore, I immediately sent a request about this matter and was delighted to receive a confirmation letter inviting me.

I was fortunate enough to take part in the Summer Immersion Programme, organized by the ‘Girls Who Code’ in Boston, Massachusetts, thanks to the generous support of the Bolashak Corporate Foundation, who organised the international flight for me. 

The 7-week programme provided me with an opportunity to improve my programming skills and gain experience in large companies. The programme took place with assistance from the ‘Akamai’ internet company that kindly provided their office space, computers, as well as lunches to all participants of the programme. The students were from different US states, different schools and all with different levels of Computer Science knowledge; however, there was one thing in common: the desire to learn coding and programming!

And since there was one goal - to change the world for the better, all the classes were held with all students working together. In addition to the classes, the organisers arranged meetings for us with the alumni of the programme who shared their successes and stories; that motivated us to continue working in this sphere. 

‘Akamai’ also celebrated their birthday in August, where we were invited as special guests. The holiday passed cheerfully and in a warm, family friendly atmosphere, I was amazed by the large number of female programmers that worked at the company. During this period we created websites, engaged in robotics and learned programming languages. 

At the end of the programme we presented our team projects. Our team was called CLAM, and we worked on the social project called ‘Cotton’. Within a few weeks we were conducting marketing research and studying the need and relevance of the ‘Cotton’ project.

The essence of the project, in brief, is to enable the provision of hygiene products for homeless women. This social project, was created on the basis of marketing research and from studying the lives of homeless women, by a group of 4 girls, 3 of them from the US. 

The search for funds for homeless women in the United States is in a game form. As part of the team, I created a website with three cognitive thematic games to attract public attention and awareness: for example, acquaintance with hygiene means, anatomy of the female body, etc. We began to find an opportunity to connect bank cards for donations, by creating a donation button to raise funds to benefit society, namely, the homeless women in the US.

The project was evaluated by the managers and mentors of the programme and we were delighted to receive very positive feedback for our work.

Due to the participation in this programme, I have acquired not only new knowledge and experience, but also excellent friends and mentors. I want to continue this idea and encourage this progression in my country - ‘to promote and motivate girls to study programming’. To enable this I will be organising an extracurricular activity on the basis of “Love.Code.Mode” at Maker Space, in which I will be inviting and encouraging all students, aged 14 - 18, to share my passion."

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