Rachel Wilkins Patel

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Rachel Wilkins Patel

Specialty: Technology

Major Contributions:

Founder HER Ideas in Motion

Listed in Fortune Heroes of the 500

Founder and President of Bridge and Switch

Image courtesy of HER Ideas in Motion

It is predicted that technology jobs will grow much faster than the average compared to all other occupations from 2022 to 2032.  While the number of women earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science has slightly increased in the past few years. Only about 18% of computer science undergraduate degrees were being awarded to women in 2016, which increased to about 21% in 2020. One of the people encouraging more girls and women to delve into the world of computer science is Rachel Wilkins Patel who is using her skills in technology and new media production for social change.

Earning a BA in English and MFA in screenwriting and film studies from Hollins University, she has worked as a digital marketing manager, a university instructor, and a web developer. For over ten years she has used user experience design and development to engineer designs that make multi-device user interface possible. By using an iterative design process that can implement changes based on user reactions to the content, each iteration becomes more user driven and unique to the application.

In 2010 she founded HER Ideas in Motion, a nonprofit based in Cleveland, Ohio that focused on helping girls achieve in technology and media arts. They used hands-on workshops and tech clubs to help girls learn technical and creative skills from professionals all while building their own projects. They followed a women-led approach that used a combination of female creative and technical professionals to teach and mentor girls in an effort to provide access to female role models.

As part of her work in encouraging girls and women to explore computer science, Patel facilitated a panel entitled “Experience with MOOCS the good, the bad and the ugly” at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Technology Conference in 2013. In 2014 HER Ideas In Motion received the Google Rise Award to support expansion of its parent-daughter Hack Day program. In 2015 Wilkins Patel was listed in the Heroes of the 500 from Fortune Magazine.  She is also the founder and president of Bridge and Switch, a product design and engineering consultancy that strives to deliver technology powered solutions to build and manage clients’ brands.

Written by Angela Goad


Bridge and Switch

HER Ideas in Motion


See Also:

LinkedIn: Rachel Wilkins Patel

Hollins University

Calling All Girls! Her Ideas in Motion offer STEMTraining, Rachel Wilkins Patel, Women in STEM (YouTube)

Cleveland’s HER Ideas in Motion receives a 2014 Google RISE Award (Archived)