Phoebe Taylor ‘18 Selected for the Aspirations in Computing Award

Jacqueline Pisani
Kingswood Oxford student, Phoebe Taylor ‘18 of Glastonbury, was given the Aspirations in Computing Award at a reception on May 3rd  at the Hartford Convention Center in conjunction with the Premier CIO Forum jointly sponsored by the Society for Information Management.
Taylor explained that she always enjoyed learning the mechanics of how things work, but she never thought of herself as a “computer person.” She saw the founder of the Girls Who Code organization on The Colbert Show and believed it was a wonderful opportunity to be a woman in the STEM fields. Last summer, Taylor attended a seven week Girls Who Code immersion program through MIT and Lincoln Labs and was bitten by the bug. In addition to working on computer programming, Taylor said one of the highlights was listening to women who are currently in the field. She said, “It was a really cool experience to build connections with motivated and confident young girls and women.” Women mentors in technology would work with two girls at a time about how to navigate the male dominated tech workplace. Taylor explained that one mentor explained that as a woman in the field you need to build your image of who you are going to be and project confidence. The executive related that she always makes herself the first person to help out when something needs to get done. Another female teacher’s assistant from the program said that women need to overcome the “imposter syndrome”, the feeling that since you are one of the the few girls program you shouldn’t be there. The TA said that since she was a girl, the other male students assumed she understand the work and would explain things to her very slowly. Taking that as motivation, the TA and her female cohort in the class were the only two students to receive and “A” in the class.
After going through a rigorous background check, Taylor visited the Lincoln Labs facility in Lexington, which is part of MIT and connected to the Pentagon. Taylor said, “It was incredible to see that they work on solutions to problems that they don’t have yet.” Taylor describes witnessing a small drone that drops out of a parent drone, shoots video and flies back to the parent drone. The group watched thermal imaging of a rainforest to thwart people who are trying to abduct child soldiers. Another drone they observed had such exceptional night vision that it was able to capture an image of the entire city of Boston, including an exceptionally detailed “B”  pattern in Fenway Park.
This summer Taylor plans to attend a co-ed four week camp by MIT/ Lincoln Labs where students build and program driverless race cars that race one another autonomously. Prior to admittance, Taylor will need to complete a rigorous, multi-week  online course
As for her future plans, Taylor said she’d like to keep pursuing coding but in an open minded manner. “Anything I want to do from the arts to medicine, you'll need programing. It’s such an integral part of so many fields and offers so many opportunities. I might get a job that doesn’t even exist yet.”
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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