Changing the dreams and visions of little girls one code at a time.

Some little girls aspire to be models, actresses, doctors, lawyers, and maybe you have some who want to be a chef, a dog lover or superwoman. What do you say to the little lady who simply wishes to be an it girl? Like “IT?” You tell her that it is more than possible, especially with an organization like “The Next IT Girl.”

A report published by The U.S. Census Bureau titled “Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin” by Liana Christin Landivar in 2013, states men are employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations at twice the rate of women, 31 percent to 15 percent. The report also notes that while 11 percent of the workforce is Black, six percent of STEM workers are Black. One young woman is set out to change that.

“The Next IT Girl” was founded by Napiya Nubuya. It is a network of women of color in the technology field that educates, empowers, mentors and progresses young ladies of color ages 8 to 22. The organization gives the necessary support to, not only encourage women to pursue careers in tech, but attain tech degrees.

Ironically, “The Next IT Girl” began as a fashion blog. With Napiya being an Information Technology Administrator, it was a genius play on words with her love of fashion and technology. While the love was strong, it wasn’t enough. At the time, Napiya was a new resident of Indianapolis and was doing a little self-discovering. She prayed to God for answers and was soon greeted by an intern who wanted to pursue computer science and had quite a bit of questions.

She instantly discovered what she’d been looking for. “The Next IT Girl” would undergo transformation and become a hub for young girls and woman who may have an interest in technology.

“’The Next IT Girl’ is a reflection of all the hurdles I’ve encountered through my journey in technology,” Says Napiya. “I wanted to start a business that targeted every area that I could’ve benefited from. A lot of things I had to figure out on my own. ‘The Next IT Girl’ is what I needed before, during, and after college, a network of women who looked like me and have already walked the path.”

Napiya comes from a rather close-knit family. Summers at granny’s, cousin slumber parties and an unbreakable bond with her resilient mother and determined father type of family. Along with her education and experience, her childhood has given her the necessities needed to advance the young ladies she encounters.

“The Next IT Girl” is a budding 2 years old, but has seen a great deal since inception in 2015. In 2017, it launched its summer pilot program with four workshops introducing technology concepts to girls ages 8 to 15. They have partnered with more than five organizations to host “IT Girl” technical workshops, launched a new chapter in Atlanta and held a fundraiser hosted by Outforce, a LGBTQ employee resource group within one of the biggest tech companies, Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform.

“The impact I’m looking forward to is the day that young women will say, ‘I never considered technology, until being a part of The Next IT Girl.’” Says Napiya. “Seeing young women grow through first being exposed to tech, then pursuing a technical degree, and finally working in the industry. That’s when I know we’ve made a difference.”

Napiya is currently nominated for a Mira Rising Star Award from TechPoint, a state initiative that provides education and networking programs, government advocacy and economic development initiatives within the technology sector in Indiana.

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All images courtesy of Napiya Nubuya