2016 is going to be the summer of girls… more specifically, the summer of Girls Who Code. That’s because the national non-profit founded by WYSK Reshma Saujani is teaming up with a record number of major companies and foundations for its annual Summer Immersion Program this year and providing $1 million in scholarships for girls to attend. In all, the companies will host 78 programs serving 1,560 girls across 11 U.S. cities, a 37 percent increase in programs from last year.

Dedicated to inspiring, educating, and equipping “young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities,” Girls Who Code offers its Summer Immersion Program to 11th and 12th grade girls. The free, 7-week course teaches the fundamentals of computer science by embedding these high school juniors and seniors “inside a technology company or university setting from 9-4PM each day.” It’s a true hands-on experience involving “300+ hours of intensive instruction in web development and design, robotics, and mobile development with mentorship and exposure to top female engineers and entrepreneurs.”

According to the organization, it will be giving out “need-based” scholarships for the 2016 Summer session, with the money specifically going towards “helping girls make up for lost wages due to program participation and transportation costs.”

In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.4% of high school girls select computer science.

Girls Who Code will also be expanding its reach this year to 11 cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Newark, and across the San Francisco Bay Area, with programs being held in Austin and Atlanta for the first time.

Commenting on her organization’s expansion, Reshma said it, “shows the technology sector has finally woken up to its gender gap problem and is moving quickly to show many more young women they have a future in the industry.” She added, “I want to thank all of our partners who are as committed as we are to reversing long-held assumptions about what an engineer should be and opening up many new doors for women across the nation.”

To apply for a place in the 2016 Summer Immersion Programs, go to girlswhocode.com/apply. The application deadline is March 1, 2016 at 11:59PM PST.

What You Should Know About Reshma Saujani

Reshma_bookReshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code and the former Deputy Public Advocate of New York City. As Executive Director of the Fund for Public Advocacy, Reshma brought together public and private sectors to encourage entrepreneurship and civic engagement across NYC. Today, she has galvanized industry leaders to close the gender gap in STEM education and empower girls to pursue careers in technology and engineering. In 2010, Reshma became the first South Asian woman to run for Congress, promoting smarter policies to spur innovation and job creation. Advocating for a new model of female leadership focused on risk-taking, competition and mentorship, Reshma is also the author of Women Who Don’t Wait in Line (October 2013).