The Urban Assembly and Facebook partnered with the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women (UAI) for the UAI Design Derby competition earlier this month. Six teams of ninth grade students showcased their product design and development skills to a panel of industry leaders at Facebook’s NYC office. Winners Kaleah Bradford, Jade Pegus, Nyla Moore, Saniyah Ruff, and Kemisha Barrow, creators of the Wattpad Enhancer, will be flown to California to participate in a two-day leadership and advocacy program at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. These young designers will also be taken on a tour of the prestigious Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

At the Derby, UAI student Fatoumata Diallo gave opening remarks that underscored the need for diversity and equity in technology.

“While I think it would be cool if Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory was a Black woman named Fatoumata or that Wonder Woman was really a program designer who wears a hijab, for now I realize that we as young women must hold tight to the opportunities given to us to learn a lot along the way, and create the next generation of successful young women."

Fatoumata Diallo, 9th Grade, Urban Assembly Institite of Math and Science for Young Women

UAI prepares young women for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Facebook product development curriculum is part of the school’s brand new computer science career pathway program.