Intern Feature: Cayleigh Haag

Girls Code the World is excited to bring our Intern Feature Series to you, starting off with one of our most devoted interns, Cayleigh Haag!

Cayleigh attends Central Bucks High School West. At West, she is involved in Girls Varsity Cross Country and Track team. She is also a member of the Girls STEM Club and Science Olympiad.

Last summer, Cayleigh joined our team as a student who loved her science and math classes growing up, and she wanted to learn about how she could provide opportunities to younger girls to become passionate about STEM.

“My grandmother has, from the time I was born, encouraged me to love learning. Starting when I was only a few months old, my grandmother began to take me to the Doylestown Library every other week, a tradition that has lasted to this day. When she was working, she was a lawyer, one of the only females in her firm. She has always been a huge role model for me.”

– Cayleigh

Cayleigh shadowed our virtual programs last year, as we were forced to run remote programming because of COVID-19. She quickly immersed herself in Girls Code the World, and she decided to take on a leadership role by learning how to teach a lesson and ran an activity for twelve girls in a virtual setting – something that wasn’t easy to do!

Over the school year, Cayleigh continued to volunteer her time with an organization as she developed lesson plans that advanced our coding curriculum and touched on the intersection of physics and engineering. Cayleigh’s current dream job would be to work with theoretical physics. She plans to broadly study mathematics and computer science in college and hopes to narrow down her interests as she has access to higher level and diversified classes. It was an easy decision for founders Sydney Gibbard and Mina Shokoufandeh to hire her and her best friend, Bella Haurin, to run a programming session over the summer.

Cayleigh and Bella persevered through a variety of obstacles, from finding a location willing to host girls who were too young to be vaccinated to finding a school willing to partner with them. They learned a lot along the way as well. Cayleigh shared: “Through my role at GCTW, I learned a lot about leadership. In a more obvious sense, I led a class of 8-12 year olds through 30 hours of programming. However, I also gained valuable experiences in the area of self advocacy. The camp was not going to happen unless I made it happen. The skills I learned in leadership, communication, and organization were paramount to my successes in running a GCTW summer program.”

The program couldn’t have been more successful, and parents wrote our Board notes sharing how much their daughters loved working with Cayleigh and Bella. And not only did the participants get to learn about opportunities in STEM and be inspired by our Girls Code the World network of women, but also our mentors did too.

Working with Mina and Sydney, along with their Board of Directors, was an amazing experience. Sydney and Mina acted as role models, both enrolled in esteemed colleges, who I could use as a reference as I progressed through high school.

I also worked directly with Kristen, the Director of Curriculum. She taught me valuable lessons in how to speak to younger students and how to convey my point in an efficient but also understandable manner.

Personally, I benefitted from Mina and Sydney’s guidance along with conversations with esteemed speakers such as Kristin Culler of Air Force One at Boeing.

– Cayleigh

Our organization couldn’t be more thankful for our amazing mentors like Cayleigh and Bella. If you are interested in joining our network, you can reach out to our Director of Mentorship, Isabella Webster, at mentorship@girlscodetheworld.org.

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