Founded by teen, nonprofit Project CODEt hopes to close gender gap

September 25, 2023 | Learn more about Project CODEt, a nonprofit founded by a local teen (Allison Keyes)

By Allison Keyes

HERNDON, Va. — Hunched over their computer screens, faces bright with interest, students at Rachel Carson Middle School got a leg up on their computer skills on Saturday at a coding workshop.

“It’s really interesting,” gushed 14-year-old Mahi Nair. “I’ve never really done any coding before, and it’s really cool to learn how to use it with fashion, biology and gaming.”

Nonprofit Project CODEt hosted the workshops. The organization’s founder and CEO, 16-year-old Rupali Dhumne, says she started it because she noticed when she looked around at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, there were fewer students once teens got out of the foundation classes and into research labs.

“There are very few students,” Dhumne says, “and even in that population there are very few girls.”

Duhmne says the nonprofit focuses on early exposure and equality, and offers free workshops to help students get interested early.

“It’s really nice,” says 12-year-old Venoiak Nigan. “My dad works with computer languages, so that’s how I got interested.”

Project CODEt now has chapters in California, the Carolinas, Georgia and New York.

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