Meet Ella the Engineer, a Cartoon Gal Who Can Code, Hack, and Inspire Girls to Work in Tech

Bustlers, meet Ella. Ella is a software engineer. She’s smart, she’s savvy, and she can code with the best of them. She also happens to be a cartoon character — but she’s still in early development. With your help, though, she could make her way to television screens all over the country, inspiring girls to get into tech and creating a whole new generation of awesome female engineers.

Ella the Engineer is the creation of Anthony Onesto, the director of technology talent development for Razorfish, an online marketing and design company. Onesto is also a father of three — two girls, ages 11 and six, and one boy, age eight — and when he discovered that there were almost no role models for his two girls when it came to software engineering, he decided to do something about it. Enter Ella, an animated character that Onesto hopes will star in her own show on a major network, introducing girls to technology from an early age — and kicking some major butt in the process. He’s created an Indiegogo campaign geared towards bringing Ella to life, and I’ve got to say, it’s one campaign I can definitely get behind.

Onesto first noticed the dearth of female software engineers and coders last year, when he found very few women applying to calls for those positions in his company. When he spoke to a number of other startups and tech companies, he found they had the same problem. What he then found is that it wasn’t a recruiting issue; rather, it was a problem that started much earlier on in life. While there are loads of computer software coding programs for girls to participate in once they got to high school, there are almost no options for younger kids. “In the media-world atmosphere that kids have, none of them have software engineering backgrounds,” he noted, speaking to DNAInfo. “If we could get them socialized at an early age, and go into the line of work, it could benefit society. There’s a ton of benefits on why this would make sense for a company and for the community as a whole.”

Onesto is hoping to raise $25,000 over the next 30 days; the money will go towards funding the people with the TV know-how and giving them the resources they need in order to create a pilot for Ella the Engineer. Once the pilot is made, Onesto and his team will pitch it to networks with the hopes that a series will follow. But even if he doesn’t make his target, the funds raised will still be going to a good cause: He’ll donate it to programs geared towards getting girls into computers like Girls Who Code. “If it doesn’t make sense from a budget perspective [to do the pilot], we’re going to donate it,” he said to DNAInfo. “It’s a win-win either way.” Hear, hear!

Got a few bucks to spare? You can make a donation over at Ella the Engineer’s Indiegogo page.

Image: Anthony Onesto/Indiegogo