Community Partner Profile: How Holberton Tulsa is Shaping the Future of Tulsa
Each month we highlight community members and the projects they lead. Interested in keeping up with our work? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly updates and breaking news.
Holberton Tulsa is an innovative software engineering school that prepares students for employment in the constantly changing technology industry. Founded in Silicon Valley, the Tulsa campus opened in 2000 in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GFKK). In the summer of 2022, GKFF became the sole owner of Holberton Tulsa. We sat down with the school’s Chief Executive Officer, Libby Ediger, to learn more about how the school is preparing students academically and professionally, the origin of the Holberton name, and how the program is increasing representation for women in tech.
Q: How does Holberton Tulsa help prepare the future workforce of Tulsa?
In order for Holberton and our graduates to be successful, it’s incumbent on us to look up from just our educational objectives to play a role in shaping the future of Tulsa. We want to see Tulsa continue to be a place that offers affordable housing, high quality of living, access to the outdoors, and connections to the best job opportunities – something we see as a competitive advantage. We work with PartnerTulsa and support their various initiatives because we know they are foundational for Tulsa to continue to live up to its full potential, something we want for our city and our students.
Q: We’ve heard Holberton Tulsa has big plans for Women’s History Month. Can you share some of the highlights and describe why it’s important for Holberton to dedicate outreach specifically to women?
We have a number of different activities planned for the month of March, including our Equal Pay Day event on March 15th with Oklahoma Women in Technology! We know that women are historically under-represented in the technology field. Our goal with the Equal Pay Day event is to raise awareness about the opportunities in tech for women as well as to train attendees on practical skills that can help them be successful in the workforce today. To that end, the event includes a Keynote speaker and training on how to negotiate a raise!
We are also proud to be partnering with OKWiT to support their Annual Spring Retreat, which supports high school women through a half-day summit where they can learn about the variety of careers in the STEM field.
Q: What is it like to be a woman in tech?
Working in the technology sector feels like a natural extension of my talents – building champions, sharing stories, and ultimately building something that is good for society. Historically there has been a deficit of women working in the industry, and much of that gap has been caused by the perception of “who” should be good at tech (insert photo of an anti-social grown man in a dark room staring at a computer screen). In reality, the technology sector is collaborative and creative, skills that we know women have in spades. I love working in tech and I am eager to support more women entering the industry through programs like ours at Holberton!
Q: How does your namesake, Betty Holberton, influence the mission of your school?
Betty Holberton was tough as nails. She was one of the six programmers of the ENIAC, which was the first programmable, general-purpose electronic digital computer created by the US Army. We draw so much inspiration from Betty because not only was she a pioneer in computer science, helping to create modern-day software engineering, but she also did so in a time when women were not expected to be scientists and mathematicians. Betty reminds us that we can do anything we put our minds to!