Melinda Gates is obviously a champion of creating opportunities for women in technology. On Wednesday morning she was in Florida to deliver a keynote address at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing focused on ways to get young girls excited about computer science and STEM.
Closer to home in Seattle, Gates recently met some of those young women as she paid a visit to Tune House, a two-year scholarship program for female undergraduate students who demonstrate a passion for CS or other tech-related degrees at the University of Washington. The program from the mobile marketing startup is in its third year.
Gates wrote about the program in a LinkedIn post on Sunday, in which she called it “a fascinating experiment in supporting women coders: a house where eight women in computer-related fields live rent-free and get access to mentors, workshops, and networking opportunities.”
In a video on her post, Gates is shown talking with the women about how they got interested in tech:
Gates points out that Ed Lazowska, chair of UW Computer Science and Engineering, said that the university is doing many things differently to help attract women to the program and ensure that they thrive. By making the environment more inclusive, creating new pathways, supporting innovators in the field, the percentage of female CS graduates at UW is almost twice as high as it is nationally, Gates said on LinkedIn.
Tune introduced the new students in a post of its own on Wednesday, and said the women were attending the Grace Hopper event in Orlando where Gates spoke. The trip was made possible thanks to Tune employees, Snapchat, and Gates and her team, who donated tickets and funds to get them there.