Give Bay Area girls a head-start in tech

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This summer the Stanford AI Lab has a two week program called SAILOR aimed at local 9th grade girls, and I think it’s a wonderful chance to give promising students a strong start in a very important field. They’re a scrappy grass-roots initiative within the organization though, so they do need financial support to help pay for attendees expenses! There’s no online way to sponsor the program unfortunately, but if you email them at sailors-finance@cs.stanford.edu, they’ll be able to help you donate. In their own words, here’s what the program is trying to accomplish:

  • To simultaneously educate and excite students about the field of AI by providing exposure to a variety of AI topics, discussing in-depth some of the cutting-edge AI research, and exploring the societal impacts of AI.
  • To foster personal growth through career development workshops, mentoring, and social events.
  • To provide students a hands-on experience with real research projects in the AI Lab.
  • The program also aims to build a close-knit community and encourage interest among underrepresented minorities in the field.

I think this is important because it’s a practical and immediate way to do something at the grassroots to address the inequalities that plague our industry, and the local area. It’s just one step, but I think it can make a real difference to the lives of the attendees.

I do have a personal reason for supporting this effort. I grew up as a “Townie” in Cambridge, England and I was fascinated by the university but never had a chance to experience what it had to offer as a child. I think it’s sad that the college was so cut off from its local community, for both sides’ sake. One of the things I love about America is that universities are far more open to the outside world, with a lot of people I know taking Stanford’s continuing studies program for example, or their online courses. There are still incredible contrasts of course, like between East Palo Alto and the main city, but at least the college is actively trying to do something about the problems.

If you can help, or if you know students who might benefit from this program, do reach out to sailors@cs.stanford.edu for more details. I’m excited to see what this initiative can accomplish!

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