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Girl code: Tulane women share love for tech careers

March 14, 2018 3:30 PM
As co-chairs of Tulane University Women in Technology, Tulane seniors Maya Pelichet, left, and Tatiana Derouen, right, provide opportunities for women on campus to learn coding and programming. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


A flyer advertising a Python coding workshop on the uptown campus changed the career trajectory for one first-year student at Tulane University.

“I had never coded in my life, but I thought that it sounded interesting so I took a chance and went,” said Tatiana Derouen, who is now a Tulane senior.

Inspired to hone her new coding skills, Derouen returned to the workshop weekly and eventually became a double major in chemistry and computer science.

“We like to empower women and encourage them to be successful.”

— Maya Pelichet, co-chair of Tulane University Women in Technology

Derouen and fellow Tulane senior Maya Pelichet are inspiring other female students as the co-chairs of a student organization called Tulane University Women in Technology (TUWIT). Through TUWIT, the duo offers opportunities for women at Tulane to kickstart careers in technology and to provide resources for students to learn coding and programming.

“We like to empower women and encourage them to be successful,” said Pelichet, who double majors in computer science and applied computing systems and technology.  “I took a computer science class for fun and loved it, so I was looking for an organization filled with like-minded people.”

Founded in 2013, TUWIT creates a space for students to engage in dialogue concerning issues commonly faced by women within the technology industry, like the gender gap.

“It’s nice to have a community that you can feel comfortable with and rely on,” said Pelichet.

“We put on a lot of events where women in important positions within the tech industry can come speak about their workplace experiences and give some insight,” added Derouen, noting that the group also hosts regular skill-building workshops.

TUWIT will host a panel on Tuesday, March 20, where GE Digital employees will share their experiences as women in a field typically dominated by men. Called “What Works for Women Leaders in Technology,” the event will take place at 6 p.m. in Room 108 at Jones Hall on the uptown campus.

On Tuesday, April 10, the organization will also offer a workshop led by Mavenly + Co., a company that provides millennial women with career coaching, at 6 p.m. in room 108 Jones Hall.

“We’re all about providing opportunities for people to grow, so everyone is welcome,” added Derouen.