Two students collaborate in a hands-on computing lab space at UIC


The tech world of tomorrow will look different. There will be more diversity: in gender, in background, in ways of thinking. It will be that way because of the important work we are doing here today.

Amita Shetty
Director, Break Through Tech Chicago

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McKinsey & Company: Removing barriers to get more women in tech

For all the talk of the need for more women in tech, data suggests that meaningfully moving the needle requires better innovation. Thirty-five years ago, women earned roughly a third of computer science degrees. By 2016, that share had fallen to less than 20 percent. Although that number appears to have marked the bottom—in 2021 women were earning 22 percent of computing degrees—closing the gender gap in tech, especially for women of color, still has a long way to go.

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Tomi Babalola sits with a notebook and pen on a red metal bridge that crosses the Chicago river

Finding ‘the ultimate package’

Tomi Babalola could have been your dentist (and would not have been happy about it). But thanks to some experimentation with computer science, Tomi found a career path that represented an unexpected calling.

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Discover the real-world challenges our students are tackling with Industry Partners inside AI Studio

Break Through Tech’s AI program —which spans NYC, LA, Boston, and which is available virtually for students outside those regions — helps college women and nonbinary students gain the skills and build the portfolios they need to better prepare them to secure jobs in the fastest-growing areas of tech: data science, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Particularly for Black, Latina, Indigenous, low-income, first-generation, and other marginalized communities, the barriers to entering AI loom large. We are here to change that.

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