The WISE Inspirations Network at Stanford (WINS) aims to create an engaged Stanford network linking women graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and alumnae in STEM fields, and their allies and advocates, through regular meetings and communications. WINS seeks to provide all with opportunities to learn from a diverse array of stand-out women in science and engineering about the realities of their lives and work, successes and lessons learned, and to connect individuals with a network of potential mentors, protégés, and other colleagues.
The Spring 2018 WINS will feature Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO, AnitaB.org.
From her very first programming class, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO and President, AnitaB.org, has recognized the deep value of being a technology creator, not just a consumer. But in so many industries, women and underrepresented minorities have had a difficult time getting an equitable seat at the table of technical innovation. Wilkerson will talk about her evolution from programmer to movement builder, and how ensuring everyone, regardless of background or privilege, has an equal opportunity to be part of the innovative work that drives every aspect of our lives. Every company is a tech company, and Wilkerson will describe the revolution underway under her leadership as AnitaB.org changes the direction of tech.
Brenda Darden Wilkerson's Bio
Brenda Darden Wilkerson began her career in industry, but found her way into education, first as adjunct faculty and director of IT Training at a Chicago community college, then as a district-level administrator for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). In that role, she founded the original Computer Science for All initiative in 2013, which built computer science into the general course of study for all students in the school system. That program has gone on to affect more than 1.5 million students in Chicago and New York City alone.
Wilkerson also authored critical education policy that created the first pure computer science graduation requirement for CPS, and developed the original vision and program of studies for the CPS Early College STEM Initiative, which launched in five schools in Fall 2012. Earlier this year, that program’s first class of students graduated with both a high school diploma and an associates degree in either Information Technology or Computer Science.
She has collaborated with college partners on both coasts to increase access to post-secondary credentials for a diverse student population. She has also served as a powerful national lobbyist on behalf of making computer science a core educational requirement, including appearing before a Congressional panel to speak in favor of a bill attempting to achieve that goal. She has been a tireless advocate to industry on behalf of computer science education, garnering multi-national corporate support for the students she represented. Her work attracted the attention of the Obama Administration, which modeled some of its work after her efforts in Chicago.
Wilkerson holds a B.A. in Computer Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Il.