Amy is a programmer and alumni of MIT, Honda, the University of Tokyo Igarashi Lab, and Airbnb. It's been a life long dream of hers to create a series of zines that cover computer science concepts in an accessible way, targeted towards people who don't think computer science is for them. This Kickstarter made it possible for her to leave my job as a web developer at Airbnb to focus on this full-time!
BubbleSort Zines are a monthly zine series filled with stories and hand-drawn art and diagrams. They cover topics like circuits, sorting, memory, and tcp. Though the intended audience is high school students (think Hello Ruby's teenage sister), Amy was surprised by how many adults are also subscribers!
Computer science and programming are powerful tools for expressing creativity and for actuating change. She wants to make sure that these tools & skills are accessible to everyone. This doesn't just mean computers in every classroom. This means framing computer science in a way that is accessible and inclusive to people who might not think there is a place for them in computer science. If there was a computer science course at a highschool, who would enroll in it? If there was a wizardry course at a high school, who would enroll in it? That's right: everyone. Think about how much changes when we re-frame computer science as magic (which it basically is).
Little girls and boys perform equally in math and science in elementary school. Little girls are super excited about math and science and she completely disagrees with anyone who says we need to put lots of effort into getting them more interested. They already are. It isn't until later in high school that society tells them math & science isn't for them & their participation drops. Amy doesn't think we need to get high school girls interested in math and science so much as make sure they feel welcome, included, and supported.
This isn't to say that she believes the lack of diversity in tech is solely because of a pipeline problem. Amy also believes strongly in making sure underrepresented demographics are treated well once they enter the industry. There's a lot that of work that needs to be done to ensure that any young people who are excited about science and technology now have an inclusive environment to work in when they get older.
December 14th, 2016 | 39 mins 38 secs
In this episode we talk to Amy Wibowo, of BubbleSort Zines, about zine making, introducing art into STEM education, and making websites as a full-time career.