Report Card: Customizing Our Women in Tech High School Trainee Program

Natasha presenting her work at our Trainee Show & Tell

Natasha, having just completed her sophomore year at Breakthrough Silicon Valley, was brought into the program under the Web Development track. Her program mentor and instructor was Jieqing Dai, a software engineer also on the Careers team. Natasha was not initially as keen on programming, but wanted to give it another try, stating “I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone. I already tried out CS last summer, but wanted to give it another go, as everything deserves a second chance. I’m glad that I went with my gut versus giving into the fear of it being too hard.”

Jieqing helped nurture Natasha’s budding interest in computer science by catering more to her interests, namely Java. Natasha wanted more time to study and process topics one-on-one, as opposed to pushing on to learn frontend/UI programming. Jieqing picked up on this, and provided a range of both teaching and letting Natasha explore on her own.

When asked to reflect on her experience, Natasha said, “The first thing I thought was that we would be sitting down at a desk and coding all day. Thought it may be boring. But it wasn’t like that. My mentor and I focused on Java only and I learned a lot. I’m really proud now that I understand what [the code] is doing and what it’s meant for. The process of calling another function to make another thing happen. My mentor taught me the basics, and then I understood how everything came together.”

Results from the 2018 cohort

Similar to previous years, the outcomes from this year’s cohort have been overwhelmingly positive.

Plans to study STEM in an undergraduate program:

Plans to study computer science or information science in an undergraduate program:

Interested in giving back and starting a High School Trainee Program at your company? Well you’re in luck! Last year, we open sourced the program, and the whole curriculum can be found on Github. Let us know how we can help, or work together to make the experience even better. We’ve already begun planning improvements for next year, and are always looking for mentors and volunteers, and of course partnering with more tech companies to roll this out throughout Silicon Valley!


Huge thanks to Aarthi Jayaram, Shalini Agarwal, Nicole Brunnett, and Kelsey White for helping throughout the summer; to Teresa Leija and Anthea Ip for recruiting; to Lisamarie Kelly, Yuin Ee, Erik Krogen, Abinav Sridhar, and Navina Ramesh for volunteering on events; and all our dedicated mentors: Eileen Ho, Quentin DCosta, Jieqing Dai, Curtis Seaton, Connie Chang, Marek Zwick, Raul Rivero, James Margatan, Alice Chang, Christian Mathiesen, and Sandeep Wali. We truly and literally could not have done this without you!

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