Creating the future is about more than delivering emerging technologies. Here at Oracle, we believe it’s our responsibility to shape the next generation. That means equipping the young minds of today with the technical skills, creative confidence, and empathy to solve problems that our generation hasn’t even dreamed of yet.
The Oracle Education Foundation is allowing us to achieve this now. A nonprofit organization funded by Oracle and staffed by Oracle employees, it pays special attention to underrepresented groups of young people in STEM. Their latest project? Delivering a coding class called “Hello, Wearables!” to over 150 8th Grade girls in the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.
This isn’t the first project of its kind for Oracle. Since 2014, the Oracle Education Foundation has been offering 30-hour, two week classes to Design Tech High School (d.tech), a public charter school which we built a home for on our campus HQ. That pioneering initiative has made such a positive impact that Senior Program Manager, Ashley Sullivan, was eager to replicate its success for the young women of Austin, Texas.
“Young women need to be able to see themselves in our industry. We need to show them that these opportunities exist. Then we need to encourage and mentor them,” she explains. “The young women we’re teaching in Austin are not only building their technical skills, they’re learning that they can rely on themselves and their ability to think critically in complex situations.”
Specifically, the girls are learning how to approach problems and build prototypes using a combination of STEM and design thinking. Over the course of their studies, they are learning how to design, build, and test a piece of wearable technology.
Medea Hatten, Oracle volunteer and Program Manager for the Sales and Consulting Mergers and Acquisitions team, found the girls were full of enthusiasm for the new skills they were learning.
“They were very inspired by solutions that could genuinely help other people. They were especially interested in hearing how design thinking can create affordable solutions for women around the world who are in less fortunate circumstances,” Medea shares.
“We taught them practical skills like coding and project management, but the most important thing they’ve gained through this project is empathy. And that’s what’s really going to be key in creating a future that’s better for everyone,” she adds. “Now these girls know that coding can solve real problems, that putting themselves in someone else’s shoes can drive real change, and that working together is the best way to achieve results.”
As an alum of the Ann Richards School and Project Manager at Oracle NetSuite, Maria Cruz was especially motivated to volunteer for this worthwhile project. “Many of these girls are beginning to think about careers. By educating them early on, we can help them unravel the ‘complexity’ of the tech industry, as well as help them understand and develop core skills at a younger age.”
“Lots of the girls have been asking questions related to choosing a major in college, and what our experience of working at Oracle is like,” Maria reveals. “Oracle’s work with the Ann Richards School sets an example to many large corporations to join the movement for gender equality. I’m incredibly proud to work for a company that is showing young women their potential.”