‘Girls Who Code’ mentor hopes to inspire younger female generation

Inspired by the women who came before her, a local volunteer is working to pave the way for the next generation of computer scientists.

Gabby Doran says that she’s driven to make a difference, and she’s getting her start at a community center in north Minneapolis.

Doran's passion for computer science started young, saying during an interview with FOX 9's Bisi Onile-Ere, "I had always been interested in coding as a little girl."

Today, she’s a senior business intelligence analyst for Comcast, after years of study and training, the mentee is now a mentor.  

"A college professor was my first mentor, and she changed my life. Because she was the first person to ever tell me that I could have a future in a technical field if I wanted to," said Doran. "Now that I’m in a place in my career where I’m feeling some measure of success, it’s important for me to start pouring that back into people as soon as possible."

This summer, Doran is leading a program called "Girls Who Code" at the Phyllis Wheatley community center in north Minneapolis.

"It’s a safe, supportive, fun environment for girls to come and explore their interest in these things and be told that they could have a future in this," said Doran.

When asked why she believes that it's important to expose girls to code, Doran responded, "We have fewer women in computer science now than we did in the 1990s. So, we’ve actually gone backward."

But Doran is moving forward. Volunteering one day a week, she teaches girls how to build animations, games and applications.

"These girls, they’re digital natives, right? They grew up with the internet, but they haven’t necessarily been exposed to what happens behind the scenes or under the hood of all of the devices that they use every day," said Doran.

In the realm of Science-Technology-Engineering-and Math (STEM), Doran says the goal is to show young girls what’s possible.

"If we can create spaces where girls can build their confidence and learn that they have every right to do these things just as much as boys, then we can start to fix the problem of not enough women in tech," said Doran.

And she believes that she is the solution.

"This really is just the seed for something that can blossom and be very impactful and important for girls in the Twin Cities. So right now, we’re small, but we’re hoping to grow," said Doran.

The "Girls Who Code" program takes place every Thursday evening at the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in north Minneapolis from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Classes end Aug. 31, but Doran is hoping to expand. For more information click here.