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Bringing Black Panther to Life with Black Girls Code

By Ashley Bass, Mid-West Program Manager, Black Girls Code

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David Yang and Nimit Maru, co-founders of Fullstack Academy and the Grace Hopper Program, noted the following in an op-ed entitled, “We need more women in tech in order to get more women in tech" —

“We need to get everyone on board. Diversity and inclusion, while incredibly important as an initiative, can’t be viewed as merely that, a siloed initiative that happens in parallel with the same old ways of doing things or is overlaid at the end of projects to make sure everything looks kosher to outsiders. It has to be interwoven into an organization’s protocols.”

Black Girls CODE (BGC) is thrilled to have partnered with the Chicago campus of Fullstack Academy for the “Wakanda by Design: 3D Printing” workshop that took place October 20. This hands-on workshop for girls ages 10-17 combined digital design, fabrication, and futurist concepts modeled in Wakanda, the most technologically-advanced African nation where Black Panther, Marvel’s comic series and film, is set.

Black Girls Code staff and students collaborate on ideas in the classsroom

Students were introduced to the theme of “Afrofuturism” and how it is reflected in the various design concepts found in the film like transportation, wearables, architecture, fashion, and textiles. In the film, Vibranium, a powerful metal, is Wakanda's most precious resource and asset. BGC students used their curiosity to brainstorm about all the possibilities that Vibranium has to offer for advanced technologies, channeling that energy towards inventing products to solve everyday challenges.

Students used Tinkercad to transform their ideas into 3D models and a 3D printer to prototype their final creation. Special thanks to Fullstack Academy team members Ben Neiswander (Chicago Campus Director) and Michelle Cantos (Grace Hopper Program Director) for continuing to partner with BGC.

Two young girls peer at a 3D printer

BGC provides opportunities for girls ages 7-17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. BGC introduces computer coding lessons by providing activities in five domains: web design, mobile app design, game design, robotics, and virtual reality.

Classroom photo of everyone who attended the "Wakanda by Design: 3D Printing" workshop

Interested in getting involved with Black Girls Code? Visit to view events and volunteer opportunities.

Ashley Bass helps lead the strategy and execution of Black Girls CODE programs in the Midwest.