A Podcast on Women in CS by Women in CS

Surbhi Lohia  and Madeline Wu

CompilHer is an educational technology podcast with the aim of encouraging high school girls to pursue computer science in college and beyond. The podcast is produced by computer science majors Surbhi Lohia (BC ’19) and Madeline Wu (BC ’19).

The interviews consist of women from various backgrounds who are involved in computer science and technology. Topics covered range from how to get started with computer science, what it’s like to be a CS major, to how to land an internship or job in the tech industry. Check out the podcast at https://anchor.fm/compilher or on Spotify.

There will be a Launch Party on Friday, April 26th from 2PM to 4PM at the CSC Student Lounge (5th floor) in the Milstein Center on Barnard’s campus. Everyone is invited to come network and mingle with the podcast’s guests and other CS and technology clubs from the Columbia community. (Event details here.)

Below is a Q&A with one of the producers, Madeline Wu:

Why produce this type of podcast on women in CS?
We knew that interest in computer science drops most drastically for girls in high school and wanted to find a creative solution to target that pain point. We also noticed that most existing podcasts about women in tech are about women who are already in the tech field, and thus wouldn’t be as relatable for a high school audience with limited CS experience.

Is this a class assignment or a personal project?
This project was done as a senior social action project through the Athena Scholars Program at Barnard. We’re happy to have chosen a project that is both personal and impactful!

Will you be producing more episodes?
We are currently wrapping up Season 1 in New York City. After graduation, we’ll be located in Seattle and NYC so we have yet to determine the future of CompilHER but want to make it work!

How did you choose your interviewees?
We wanted to choose relatable, yet aspirational role models for our target demographic of high school girls. We decided to tap into our own community of CS at Columbia and interview senior CS women about their experiences. We also tried to encompass a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and interests within tech.

What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned from your interviews?
You are never too young or inexperienced to make an impact! By starting small and learning how to ask, our podcast guests have been able to accomplish so much and receive the support they needed along the way!

If there’s one takeaway you want people to have, what is it?
We want high school girls to know that CS is for everyone, and that there is a whole community of amazing women in tech out there who want to support each other!