Women Who Reign: Nivita Arora

Happy Thursday Reigners! Meet Nivita Arora, a freshman at Columbia University. Her experience with Girls Who Code has shaped not only her journey into engineering but her awareness of the gender gap. Read on to see how her passion for technology is helping her with the environment!

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a first-year student at Columbia University in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I want to study either Computer Science or Computer Engineering here. I first grew interested in this field in the middle of my junior year, and being in the Girls Who Code immersion program that summer really drew me in. I also taught at the Girls Who Code program the next summer. A fun fact about me would be that during that summer, I learned how to longboard, and now I love boarding everywhere.
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What # would define your life journey?
I’ve never been able to pick a favorite number, let alone one that defined my life journey, but I think a certain number that accurately represents my college journey so far would be the number five – my dormitory floor. The people, the study sessions, the conversations that all happen on our floor pretty much sum up everything I love about being at Columbia.

Favorite website / app:
One of the coolest technologies I think is out there – that I just learned existed – is Just Not Sorry. It’s a Chrome extension that checks your emails for words along the lines of “sorry,” “maybe,” and “I think,” which are just a few of the myriad of self-deprecating words that girls tend to use, and that I know I personally use a lot more than necessary. I’ve been trying to limit my usage of those words for a while, and it made me so glad to see this app that fixes just that problem, empowering girls in such a small but significant manner. #SorryNotSorry

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code. From the first time she spoke to my Girls Who Code class two summers ago, to having the honor of interviewing her, she never ceases to amaze me – her passion for closing the gender gap in technology, the ease with which she spreads it, her ability to balance running a nationwide program and raising a newborn son. If I had to pick one out of the many things I’ve learned from her, it’s to not let defeat hit you too hard; defeat does not mean the end, it’s just an obstacle before you pick yourself up and keep going.

Song that makes you want to dance:
This One’s on Me, by Wax

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
For our final project at the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, my group and I created an environmental app called Greenly. Since there were four of us, we divided up the work and built different parts of the app simultaneously. But when we tried to put it all together, so many parts clashed, on both the frontend and the backend side. So we all paused the coding and came together to pinpoint each problem and fix it. In a way, I’m kind of glad we encountered this problem, because it was beneficial for us to get to know the different code sections each other had been working on. And we were able to learn teamwork skills that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Ideal Job:
I love coding, and I love helping others, whether it’s humans or the Earth humans live on. I have no idea where that will take me in the future, but I know those are two things I would definitely want to be doing.


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