Allgirlithm: Building a future of girls in AI

Allgirlithm is a global community, blog, and movement to make artificial intelligence education accessible for girls of all backgrounds.

Photo of Joanna Liu
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

5/2/2002

Help us stay in touch!

Phone number: 480-204-7524 Mailing address: 1553 W Zion Pl Chandler, Arizona 85248

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

www.allgirlithm.org https://www.instagram.com/allgirlithm/ https://www.facebook.com/allgirlithm/ https://twitter.com/allgirlithm

Date You Started Your Project Started

7/8/2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

AI is shaping the future—yet only 12% of machine learning researchers are women. This discrepancy manifests itself in AI software built for everything from healthcare to law enforcement: a homogenous group is developing AI for our diverse world. Research cites a lack of resources, community, and confidence as reasons for the tech gender gap. We need to change this narrative by taking action now; AI should represent the communities it impacts.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Allgirlithm started as a blog, but we’ve since gone beyond. In addition to digital outreach, we run programs enabling youth to bring AI education directly to their communities, whether in rural Oklahoma or Tokyo. Here are some highlights: -Resources: 100+ links to educational sites & forums -Opportunities: contests, events, camps, internships -Blog: interdisciplinary topics (e.g. AI + art), interviews, coding strategies -Student Empowerment: club/workshop programs -Community: partnerships, guest blog posts, social media Our free AI Club Kit is the first of its kind, including a comprehensive AI curriculum, worksheets, a hands-on project, and Java/Python/C++/R/JavaScript programming guides. We offer two sets of curricula for middle school and high school, each spanning 10 weeks. Additionally, Allgirlithm Workshops range from 1-2 hours and can be part of a local event, such as a student-led hackathon. Our materials and guidance enable students to be changemakers in their own communities. Ultimately, we strive to create a sense of belonging and collaboration among the next generation of technologists using AI to solve pressing social problems.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

The summer after 9th grade, we were among 32 girls at a Stanford AI program. Keenly aware of the gender gap in AI, we shared our experiences being “the only girl”—so we felt incredibly lucky to be in a room full of girl-engineers. Yet we noticed a trend: while most of our peers came from urban areas and “tech hubs,” we were part of a handful from smaller areas of Arizona, Utah, and Arkansas. How could we share AI with girls who, like us, didn’t live near Google or Microsoft? We created Allgirlithm—a small blog utilizing tech as a powerful platform to share our stories and voices. Over the past two years, we’ve grown into a global movement. From empowering local leaders to engaging diverse learners, Allgirlithm fosters a fundamental sense of belonging. Inspired by our beginnings, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to harness AI as a force for the greater good.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Amy is a 9th grader in Ohio interested in AI, but her school only has one tech class—and it’s dominated by guys! So she’s not sure where to start, or whether she even has the ability to learn AI. Researching online, Amy discovers Allgirlithm’s AI Club webpage and decides to become an AI Club leader. A week after she fills out our form, we send her our 10-week club kit, provide suggestions, and answer her questions. Amy runs a successful AI Club, garnering tremendous peer interest. We invite her to write a blog post about the experience—and she ultimately decides to join our blogging team. The next year, Amy witnesses a major increase in the number of girls enrolled in her school’s tech class. She’s gained confidence in her AI skills and ability to create change and sparked a multiplier effect in her community. She even plans to combine AI with her passion for medicine in the future.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Allgirlithm’s support ecosystem extends across borders. Not only do we leverage technology to target rural areas, but we also provide the community and resources to back up long-term changemaking. Our online programs reach and empower students around the world to bring AI to their passions. AI is crucial to our future. And blogging is a powerful tool to share resources—anyone with an internet connection can access our materials. By connecting AI to art and stories, and highlighting humanitarian solutions, we engage young people’s voices and visions and open new possibilities for change.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Allgirlithm promotes flexibility in how youth can be leaders. In the past two years, we’ve garnered 51,000+ website views, forged partnerships with 22 student-led programs, and led an all-female team of 16 blog writers. Furthermore, our AI club reaches 60+ locations, including 15 U.S. states and 8 countries. We’ve been featured in ISTE’s “Closing the Gender Gap” webinar, where we presented our initiative to 300+ CS educators. With these efforts combined, we’ve directly impacted over 2,000 students. However, Allgirlithm’s strength is not only in numbers. We’ve had guest speakers donate books to our AI clubs, blog readers interact with our resources page, and national organizations support our cause through funding, all with the goal of building a more accessible community for girls/underrepresented minorities to learn about tech and to spark their own change.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Next year, we plan to connect our AI curriculum with more teachers in under-resourced communities. Encouraging educators to support students in being leaders is integral to our mission, and we’ve already helped incorporate AI into classrooms around the world. An Allgirlithm magazine and app is also in the works. Our magazine will feature longer blog articles, interviews of female figures in AI, and ongoing AI projects by community members. The app will provide a more accessible forum for our AI Club leaders to share their ideas and will allow students to reach resources and opportunities. T-Mobile’s support and worldwide audience would enable us to reach wider communities and continue to revolutionize the conversation around women in AI.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Brand Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $100-$1k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Ashoka page or contact

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

AI4ALL

13 comments

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Photo of Ethan Ocasio
Team

I originally got involved in machine learning through the GirlsComputingLeague and I'm a guy. The girls there changed my world. I'm happy to see initiative to level the gender gap in computer science. Great project!

Photo of Joanna Liu
Team

That's amazing Ethan! I took a look at your machine learning project submission, and it's phenomenal! Added it to my list of applauds :))

Photo of Ethan Ocasio
Team

Hi! I just added you to my list of applauds too. My email is ewocasio@gmail.com if you want to ever try to collaborate on a project let me know so we can put our heads together.

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