Gina Mei
April 09, 2015 9:07 am

Karlie Kloss — model, ballerina, cookie company CEO, and bestie to T-Swift — is a woman who values education. Just last year, she attended a week-long Harvard Business School seminar on the business of entertainment, media, and sports; and in February, she announced that she would be hanging up her Victoria’s Secret Angel wings to go back to college at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in the fall. Of all her academic pursuits, perhaps the most notable and consistent has been her dedication to learning how to code — and now, Karlie is launching a scholarship to support other young women who want to learn, too.

Earlier this week, Karlie announced via Instagram that she would be partnering with the Flatiron School in New York to launch the #KodeWithKarlie Scholarship for current high school students. The scholarship offers 20 girls the opportunity to participate in the Flatiron Pre-College Academy two-week Intro to Software Engineering class this summer, all expenses paid — the very same class that Karlie took a year ago — where they will learn the basics of programming and how to create (and launch) an app of their very own.

The scholarship is not the first time Karlie has openly promoted the importance of learning how to code. Just last month, she spoke on a SXSW panel on “How Technology Colonized Fashion Week,” and last December, she participated in nonprofit Code.org’s Hour of Code campaign to promote teaching computer science in schools around the world.

“I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like,” Karlie said in a video for #KodeWithKarlie. The scholarship could not have come at a better time.

It’s no secret that women are vastly underrepresented when it comes to STEM fields — but nowhere is this as clear as it is in the programming world. Stack Overflow, one of the largest online communities for coders, recently surveyed over 26,000 programmers from over 150 countries and found that 92.1% of respondents identified as male. Even leaving room to take into account that Stack Overflow isn’t as welcoming to its female audience as it should be, this is not an insignificant statistic; and it matches up with the bigger picture. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ data for 2014, women make up only 25.6% of “computer and mathematical occupations” in the United States — which includes 21.4% of computer programmers and 19.8% of software developers. Initiatives like Karlie’s are incredibly important not only because they make coding opportunities more accessible for young women, but also because having Karlie as a spokesperson makes these professions more appealing to some young women.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a fashion model or high school student, understanding code is so important because it’s the language that runs our world,” Karlie told Buzzfeed. “Young women are shaping the world we live in and code is a tool for us to continue to have a big voice and say in our future.”

To apply, current high school students (girls only!) ages 13 to 18 can submit 60-second videos telling Karlie why they want to learn how to code on the #KodeWithKarlie website. Half of the scholarships will be for the school’s NYC location, while the other half will be available at campuses around the country — but they are all guaranteed to be awesome. The due date for applications is May 1, and winners will be announced by May 10. For more information, you can check out the #KodeWithKarlie site and watch the promotional video below.

(Image via.)

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