WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: WOMEN WHO INSPIRE
In honor of Women’s History Month, over the past four weeks we’ve been featuring some of the amazing women that have positively impacted gaming and technology. Thus far, we’ve shone a spotlight on women who create in the tech field, women who play that have paved the way for female competitors, and women who lead and drive the industry forward. This week, we’re wrapping up our four-part series by highlighting women who think about the future and dream of a better path for everyone. These women have worked hard to inspire those around them and encourage people from all backgrounds to get involved in the world of technology.
Clorama Dorvilias: CEO of Debias VR
Clorama Dorvilias, a San Jose native, has served in an impressive number of roles. She is an interactive designer, virtual reality developer, graphic designer and community organizer, in addition to her position as co-founder and CEO of Debias VR, which works “to leverage the capability of virtual reality to provide effective bias trainings through the power of evidenced based gameplay.”
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University, and later became interested in the tech industry. Dorvilias taught herself to be a web developer, and then earned her Master’s degree in interactive design, exploring virtual reality through her final thesis.
She now spreads awareness about implicit bias within the classroom, workplace and other public sectors, and works to change it using empathy and virtual reality. Throughout her everyday life, Dorvilias continues to utilize technology to spread awareness and inspire change in others.
Samantha John: Co-Founder of Hopscotch
Samantha John studied applied mathematics, English and comparative literature at Columbia University. Like many women in her generation, she wasn’t introduced to programming until later in life – but when she discovered it, she fell in love. She began her career in QA testing websites for bugs, eventually growing to work as a software engineer and developer.
John created Hopscotch in 2013 alongside Jocelyn Leavitt, with the mission to introduce programming to kids and “to change the way people interact with how they think about computers. So that they don’t just think of it as a machine that delivers them videos, it is also a tool that they can use to extend their own capabilities and extend the power of their minds.”
The Hopscotch app enables children to code and animate their own games. With a simple platform and kid-friendly tutorials, Hopscotch continues to introduce programming to young children and help them learn and grow.
Kimberly Bryant: CEO of Black Girls Code
Kimberly Bryant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee – a place she has stated before that not many people make it out of. Bryant was an exception. She pushed herself and eventually went on to study electrical engineering and math at the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. As she continued her education, she began to realize that less and less people looked like her. In a field dominated by men, being a black woman was particularly rare.
After she graduated, she continued on to work for many Fortune 500 companies, but began to notice that she was consistently the only woman of color in many professional environments. Bryant is inspiring for paving the way for others, defying standards, and following her dreams – but her work goes even further.
As her daughter grew older and eventually developed an interest in science and technology, Bryant realized that she could might also feel the loneliness the field offers for women of color, so she decided to take steps to change that – she created Black Girls Code. In her words:
“That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.”
She continues to empower young women and provide education through fields to which they’re not typically exposed. Black Girls Code has now grown to seven chapters within the United States and South Africa.
These three women have succeeded in following their dreams and defying stereotypes and expectations. What a wonderful way to end our women in tech series – with women who not only fulfill their own dreams, but who also spread their knowledge and use their abilities to empower others. Thank you all for following along throughout March to honor the 12 powerful women we’ve featured, but also all females who work diligently in the field year round and constantly deserve to be celebrated. Happy Women’s History Month!