Of the computer science degrees given out in 2014, only 16.5% were awarded to women and only 5.8% were awarded to underrepresented minorities

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The opportunities in computer science are ballooning, but many young people lack the exposure needed to take advantage of them.

It’s responsible for some of the greatest breakthroughs the world has ever seen. It’s also one of the most in-demand and highly paid skillsets in today’s job market. But if computer science fails to attract people from diverse backgrounds, invention will become one-dimensional.

Unequal representation doesn’t just affect excluded individuals—it affects us all.

That’s why Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft are partnering to send three young people from underrepresented backgrounds on a road trip across the country to interview inspiring professionals in the field who have defied the statistics. The experience will be made into a documentary series and will be featured in Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft’s career exploration resources to show young people the exciting—and growing—possibilities in computer science.

#CodeTrip

MEET THE ROAD-TRIPPERS

  • NATALIE

  • ROBIN

  • ZOED

NATALIE MELO:
Natalie Melo entered college as a chemical engineering major—but all it took was one computer science class and she was hooked. Realizing it was the perfect outlet for her curiosity and problem-solving skills, she quickly found herself changing majors. Now she’s on track to becoming a computer scientist and has no regrets about her decision—but she does have hesitations. As a Latina entering a male-dominated field, she wonders whether she has what it takes to survive the world of tech. Her dream is to honor her parents, who immigrated to the States to give her a better life, but she lacks role models she can relate to. She hopes this road trip will introduce her to females who’ve been in her shoes so she can get the inspiration needed to forge ahead.

ROBIN MAXKII:
Robin Maxkii can make a lot out of a little. It’s a spirit of plucky resourcefulness that comes from growing up in a small Native American tribe where access to technology was scarce. Drawn to computers from an early age but unable to consistently use them, she started to finagle her way around the limitations. It started in 4th grade when she learned how to override the time limits on public computers. Later, it grew to building her own computer when she couldn’t afford the one she wanted. Today, Robin continues to exercise her love for tech by coding and blogging. Her choice to pursue tech hasn’t always been easy, and she’s often viewed as an outsider by peers, but she’s determined to show the world that the face of computer science is more varied than people think.

ZOED MORA:
For Zoed Mora, the choice to pursue computer science has been met with skepticism. He’s the type of guy you’d find in a motorcycle garage working on his bike, but he feels equally at home coding on his computer without feeling the need to fit into the “geeky” stereotype. People tend to question whether someone who looks like him would be interested in such techy pursuits, but he’s determined to prove that someone’s appearance has nothing to do with their passions, goals, and abilities. He’s made a lot of sacrifices to put himself through school, and hopes that meeting people like him who have broken the mold will give him the confidence he needs to keep flouting expectations.

THE ROUTE

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THE ROUTE

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Denver, CO
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York City, NY
  • Boston, MA

Have you defied statistics to build a career in computer science?

With Roadtrip Nation’s “Share Your Road” career advice tool, you can share how you challenged the odds, dispelled assumptions, and followed your aspirations to get where you are today—all to help young people find their way.

Help young people do the same by sharing your story.

Share Your Road

A COLLABORATION BETWEEN:

Microsoft

Through its global YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft seeks to create opportunities for all young people to learn digital skills and computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation creates innovative self-discovery resources that guide individuals to explore their interests and pursue meaningful careers.