Pictured above: Four of The Foundling’s first cohort of Women in Technology New York (WiTNY) interns.
Five women with the Women in Technology New York (WiTNY) program recently wrapped up their “Winternships” with The Foundling’s IT Services team. This unique 3-week mini-internship taught them how technology platforms and other tools support the work of child welfare and social services nonprofits.
The project they spearheaded during their time at The Foundling was called, “Augmented Intelligence through Machine Learning for Social Services Outcomes.” Their goal was not only to learn about The Foundling’s work, but to also gather and cleanup data, analyze outcomes, and solve problems using cutting-edge technology.
“I see that technology has great potential in nonprofits. With proper use of data, people’s lives can be improved and even changed,” Xuefei, a 21-year-old student from City College of New York, says of her learning experience.
In recent years, there has been an increased push across the technology sector to see more female representation and diversity in the field, something that programs like WiTNY and its partner organizations like The Foundling are actively supporting by giving young women these critical, foundational experiences to kick-start their careers.
“The Foundling has been helpful in advancing opportunities for women by opening positions for everyone. This of course includes women. The Foundling was constantly being nothing but confident in our abilities,” Sydney, who attends City Tech College in Brooklyn, says of her internship.
Maroosha, 19, who studies at City College of New York, reflected on the feeling of acceptance working side-by-side with men and women alike in The Foundling’s IT Services department. “Most importantly, throughout this experience, I felt believed and trusted in,” she says.
More companies and organizations can play an active role in opening doors and building diverse teams, too. One idea? “Companies and organizations can create programs that educate and train women who want to go into the field of technology,” suggests Jacqueline, an intern from New York City College of Technology.
And for more girls, teens, and young adults aspiring to start careers in the tech world, these trailblazers have some advice: be confident.
“Just go for it. It may seem less welcoming and more intimidating because it is a white, male-dominated field, but we are the ones who are going to change that dynamic,” Maroosha says. “We have to change the course for the future that has been set so firmly since the past. If the tech industry is for you, then don’t be afraid to take that leap. Stand your ground and believe in your capabilities to work in the tech industry as a woman. “