“Wait, Facebook owns Instagram?!” was the refrain heard several times during that balmy Saturday in February 2017, as small groups of Code2College students toured Facebook’s Austin headquarters. That curiosity drove even greater investment and engagement as students designed enhancements for the Facebook mobile app and pitched them to several members of Black @ Facebook, Facebook’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) focused on Black engagement and empowerment. In 2016, Jeanine Henry, a veteran Facebooker, joined the Code2College Board of Directors and helped to coordinate this first, game-changing workshop.
That was nearly five years ago, and the partnership between Facebook and Code2College has only grown since then. Facebook has now hosted a professional skills workshop for every year that we’ve conducted programming and for the first time, Facebook will be hosting a STEM industry case competition with us.
In the face of the pandemic and amidst a great deal of heightened discussion around racial inequities, Facebook stepped forward last year to invest in Code2 college Vision 2024 – our initiative to support and place 200 Black and Latina girls into STEM roles by the year 2024. Thanks to the generous Investor-level support from Facebook, we were able to support three additional Legacies – what we call the young women leaders of Vision 2024 – towards accelerating their paths into viable, technical careers after college.
One of those Legacies, Anne-Marie Prosper, shared that “Facebook’s workshop was both fun and educational! It was really cool how we got to break down how ads are made using the Facebook platform and that we had the chance to create our very own ad!” Anne-Marie is now a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a degree in Computer Science. She is just one of hundreds of students who have had the opportunity to walk the halls of Facebook Austin, learn from industry professionals and recognize that they too belong. They belong in STEM industries. They belong in competitive fields. They belong in the offices of employers like Facebook.
We’re truly grateful for the genuine investment of time, talent and resources that Facebook has and continues to make in the Code2College program and look forward to our next opportunity to connect our students with their team. In fact, Facebook will be hosting its first-ever STEM industry case competition with us in April 2021 and we can’t wait!