How your old laptop could help one dad's mission to get more women into engineering

Posted at 4:53 PM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-08 20:28:02-05

An University City man in the midst of a successful software engineering career thinks not everyone is getting the same opportunity as him.

And he says dusty old laptops can help him change that. 

Patrick Lee has it made - he has two daughters, his wife's a psychologist, and he's a software engineer.

"She talks to people all day, and I don't talk to anybody," he quipped.

Lee works for a major government contractor in La Jolla, but he's noticed one thing about his colleagues that gives him pause.

"All the engineers are males, and that's just the way it is," he said. 

Now, he's going to do his part to change that - but he needs help. Lee is asking people to donate their old laptops so he can start a new chapter of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that teaches female middle and high school to become computer scientists.

"Wipe it clean put Linux on it, and let the girls go at it with Ruby, Javascript, C, you name it," Lee said. 

Lee plans to spend a few hours a week giving students free lessons at a local library, showing them the possibilities - including the path to high paying jobs. He hopes they take his advice, so when his daughters, now one and three, get to middle school, the students he inspires today could return the favor and be their role models.

"I want them to have the option, and say, 'hey, here's a field, here's a discipline," he said. "If you're interested, come on board, and I can show you the way."

Lee can be contacted at