Why Aren't We Talking About Karlie Kloss' Coding Camp?


Karlie Kloss, at only 26 years old, is already an international supermodel. She’s graced the cover of Vogues around the world, strut along the coveted Victoria’s Secret Angels runway, and recently locked down a hosting job on Project Runway. Feel inadequate yet? Just wait. In 2014, Kloss decided it was time to merge the passion that skyrocketed her to fashion fame with an unexpected new passion-- coding.

After learning how to use the popular coding software Ruby on Rails, Kloss became concerned with the gender inequity in STEM fields. According to Code.com, of the 57% of women graduating with bachelor’s degrees in the United States, only 12% are getting them in computer science fields. Partnering with the place that first taught her coding, the Flatiron School in New York, Kloss decided she was done with those statistics. By 2016, the school launched its first ever “Kode With Klossy” pre-college session. By the end of their two weeks at Kode With Klossy, a small group of teenage girls walked out fully capable of using basic coding platforms like Ruby, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and even a bit of AI and virtual reality.

Needless to say, after that summer, the Kode With Klossy applications came flooding in. What started off as a pre-college program at the Flatiron School only three years ago, is now a nationally recognized coding camp in twenty-five cities. They also offer over one thousand scholarships for girls ages 13-18 to come learn for free.

So why is this such a badass move on Kloss’ part? The gender inequity she was talking about was real. Like, scary real. Girls Who Code, another non-profit dedicated to breaking the gender gap in STEM, reported that 66% of girls age 6-12 say they are interested in studying computer science. Pretty good number, right? So here’s the bummer. Due to lack of role models, encouragement, and social peer pressure, by eighteen years old that number drops to 4%. That’s a 62% decrease in as short as six years. So having a person known for her beauty and femininity tell girls not to lose that interest, is a pretty big deal. According to the reported survey data from Kode With Klossy, 91% of program grads report learning a new- or advancing an existing- technical skill, 89% feel empowered by the program, and 87% feel they’ve gained the confidence to actually pursue a STEM career.

Due to its recency, the long-term, post-college effects of Kode With Klossy are not yet known, but based on the feedback and general bad-assery of the program, we’re pretty damn excited to see what these girls do. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved with the initiative to help girls in STEM, be sure to check out Kodewithklossy.com or Girlswhocode.com.