In 2023, GDI began its inaugural fellowship program, designed to bring community members into leadership positions to develop new class ideas and workshop formats. This fellowship will enhance our course offerings and expand the lens which informs how we engage our ever-growing community. Our first GDI Fellow is student turned instructor, Faraja Thompson.
Read her story here...
by Faraja Thompson, GDI Fellow 2023
January is a month of new beginnings, as numerous famous folks have been quoted and paraphrased. Well, for me, this particularly rings true. I am extremely excited to annouce that I have been selected as the first Girl Develop It (GDI) Fellow!
GDI is a non-profit organization committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and empowering software development environment through live online classes geared toward women and non-binary adults. GDI also offers career cohorts and virtual community events, such as panel discussions, job fairs, and hackathons.
Getting Involved and Transitioning Careers
Before I knew it, I found a virtual home in GDI. I attended more and more classes and events, including the very first GDI job fair. I even had the opportunity to instruct the Introduction to HTML and CSS course last September! At GDI, I made (and continue to make) wonderful connections with women already working in the tech industry and with new friends on similar journeys to my own.
Updates on My Journey
Fast forwarding to the present day, I officially retired as a teacher on September 30, 2022! In an effort not to dip into my emergency savings, I entered the world of retail, as a cashier and then a coordinator, for about seven weeks, until the extended holiday hours got the best of me. Those weeks of retail work, along with my pension checks, did successfully help me to avoid using my savings, to date. I also had a great time connecting with customers, and I met a couple of dear new friends through the retail experience. Unfortunately, the erratic schedules involved with working retail did not leave me much time to continue studying coding, so I am a bit rusty.
The GDI Fellowship
Beginning this month, I have officially started my GDI fellowship! This position offers me the opportunity to continue developing my technical skills, while taking a leadership role in building and supporting the GDI community. I will be able to actively engage with instructors and students, and to contribute ideas for GDI class and program development. My very first assignment was to write this blog post, so be on the look out for future posts highlighting my fellowship experiences, GDI programming, and people within the GDI community!