inspiration

Women Who Reign: Akshara Anand

“She believed she could so she did.” -R.S. Grey

~~~~

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. I’m passionate about computer science, education, and women’s empowerment. I’m the captain of my school’s Science Olympiad team and Founder and President of the Women in Computer Science Club (wicslasa.weebly.com). I founded the STEMInnovation program at Burnet Middle School to teach 20 young girls computer science through robotics and Scratch. I also founded HackATX (www.hackatx.net), a hackathon for high school girls in Central Texas that is happening on May 13th! In the future, I hope to major in computer science and economics and use technology to solve global issues facing our population today.

Fun fact: I’ve played the violin since I was three years old and sang Indian classical music since I was five. Both of these hobbies have made music an extremely important part of my life!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with friends and family, watching TED talks, reading science fiction novels, finding new music, and spending a lot of time outdoors!

 

What # would define your life journey?
#keeplearning

Favorite website / app:
One of my favorite websites is MIT’s Technology Review– the articles are incredibly interesting and thought-provoking and I love the design of the website as well. I also use Spotify and Soundcloud on a daily basis- music has a large influence on my life and making playlists is one of my favorite ways to relax.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Elon Musk really inspires me. Through the founding of Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and his other numerous companies, Elon Musk has shown me that goal-oriented thinking is incredibly successful. Elon Musk has also challenged the status quo by furthering numerous fields including renewable energy, space travel, and banking, instead of sticking to one area as society seems to suggest we must do. Elon Musk also has shown me the power of grueling hard work and determination and the positive learning aspects that come along with failure as well.

IMG_2106Song that makes you want to dance:
”Light It Up” [Remix] by Major Lazer

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I started the STEMInnovation Club at Burnet Middle School, I had high hopes of 20+ participants every Thursday after school. On the first meeting, I had a lengthy lesson plan, snacks, and two robots with me and I was shocked to enter the classroom and see two girls in the classroom. The teacher I work with told me that she had done her best to recruit students but there was a general lack of interest as well as family commitments for the girls. It felt like a point of failure, but instead of moving from Burnet Middle School onto another school, I decided to figure out new ways to recruit students to join the program. We focused on advertising and creative ways of recruitment and ended up with over 20 students who attend the club on a daily basis. This challenge taught me that persevering and not giving up can turn initial disappointments into success.

Ideal Job:
I’m really interested in entrepreneurship and I would like to have my own tech company that uses AI safely to improve medical procedures and testing in areas that don’t have the best access to sanitation and medical technology. I would like to incorporate social entrepreneurship more into technology with a focus on women’s empowerment and education and continue to develop programs like the STEMInnovation program into schools throughout the world.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone every now and then and take risks. Risk-taking provides you with confidence, learning lessons, and a broader view of the world. It’s almost important to figure out what and who makes you happy and spend as much time doing these activities or spending time with these people. Happiness is key. Lastly, don’t let gender define what you think you can and cannot do. As a woman, you should have the right to feel empowered and determined that you are self-capable, independent, and can achieve your goals without having to worry about how gender plays a role into opportunities.

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