Mouse | Texas Two-Step: Walking Underrepresented Texas Students…

March 05, 2020

Texas Two-Step: Walking Underrepresented Texas Students Through The Austin Start-Up Scene

The Silicon Hills of Austin beckon companies and venture capital from all over the world. They’re lured in by beautiful green spaces, quality of life, and the friendly attitude of the Live Music Capital of The World. Walking through downtown Austin, you’ll see the names on the sides of buildings of many of the apps you use and many others that you don’t know...yet.

But as you navigate the downtown Austin tech scene, you might notice there’s something missing. It might dawn on you slowly, or all of a sudden like a bolt, or not at all until someone points it out. Throughout the industry, Austin tech workers are overwhelmingly male, with minimal minority representation. It’s with this in mind that the ATX Student Startup Crawl was created to inspire the next generation of diverse tech leaders from underserved communities.

The ATX Student Startup Crawl brings a diverse group of Austin-area students to the downtown tech scene to help them visualize a future in STEM careers. Students move from company to company to hear from a diverse range of employees with stories, advice, and connections. The ATX Student Startup Crawl is organized by Julia Barraford-Temel of national nonprofit Mouse and Leena Saleh of EdTech Austin, two women who are well aware of the challenges faced by women and minorities entering STEM and CS careers.

“The spaces can be male-dominated and non-inclusive, and it is hard for some students to imagine themselves in STEM careers. Additionally, there are few opportunities in Austin for students from under-resourced schools to engage and interact with the Tech and CS community be introduced to the wide range of careers and educational pathways available in their own city.” said Julia.

After 4 years running this event together, Julia and Leena have seen the incredible benefits that the ATX Student Startup Crawl has on students.

“Students just didn’t know that tech careers were available to them. It’s given them an awakening in their goals. These offices don’t look like what they imagined work to look like -- they can work on a rooftop, from home, or in a cool space. They can see the difference this can make in their lives.”said Leena.

Stephen Elkins talking to the kids about his career journey.

Stephen Elkins talking to the kids about his career journey.

On Monday February 24, approximately 250 students started their field trip at Capital Factory where they heard from Stephen Elkins, the Chief Information Officer for the City of Austin. Elkins talked about the importance of tech and his personal journey to his current position. Students’ day continued with events like a tour of RetailMeNot, a website coding tutorial with summer camp provider Early Code, a diversity panel at A Cloud Guru, a visit to Austin City Hall, and a rooftop question and answer session at ProxLearn. More than a dozen Austin startups shared their time, space, and stories with the students over the course of the day. Click here to view all photos from the event.

To get involved in or sponsor the ATX Startup Crawl 2021, please contactJulia Barraford-Temel at and Leena Saleh at

About Mouse

Mouse is a national youth development nonprofit that believes in technology as a force for good. We empower all youth and educators to engage with computer science and creative technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. We are committed to fostering greater diversity and humanity in STEM and empower youth -- and all those that educate them -- to access and amplify technology as a force for good.

About EdTech Austin

EdTech Austin’s mission is to connect and support those driving innovation in education. By facilitating regular meetups, panels, mixers and hands-on learning experiences, we empower and promote meaningful collaboration in a thriving, dedicated community of educators, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, seeking to transform the education industry.

About Capital Factory

Capital Factory is the entrepreneurial center of gravity in Austin, Texas. Located in the middle of downtown, Capital Factory has 50,000 square feet full of startups and entrepreneurs, and is the ultimate space for entrepreneurs to learn, work and accelerate their companies.

About CodeMonkey

CodeMonkey is a fun and educational game-based environment where kids learn to code without any prior experience. After completing CodeMonkey's award-winning coding courses, kids will be able to navigate through the programming world with a sense of confidence and accomplishment.


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