“If not me, who? If not now, when?” – Emma Watson
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a 17-year-old girl from Gainesville, FL. I am the CEO and founder of coderGirls (www.codergirls.org), a national nonprofit organization for female middle schoolers and high schoolers to learn computer science. I originally started it in my sophomore year due to the lack of girls in my computer science classes.
Since the beginning, we have been trying to implement chapters and curriculum with 85 Girl Scout councils and over 350 schools to implement coderGirls‘ curriculum and chapters to impact over 500,000 girls. I’m also the founder and president of SeniorTechNet to teach senior citizens how to utilize technology at local independent living facilities. I’m the president of my school’s robotics team and I’m on the Florida Technology Council’s Student Advisory Committee to discuss legislation of the technology sector in front of the state government.
Fun fact: I have a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
My favorite website is YouTube as I can study more for my AP classes, and more importantly, I can watch funny puppy videos.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Personally, in terms of technology, Ada Lovelace, Margaret Hamilton, and Sheryl Sandberg show me that females can set their mind to whatever they want, despite societal expectations. Then, I’m extremely inspired by girls that I have met through NCWIT and Stanford’s #include program as each has a focus and a desire to make a change.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
It all started when I googled some Java tutorials in middle school on my computer. I typed in the simple code: System.out.println(“Hello World”). I could barely contain my excitement as my mouse clicked on the run button. It loaded and loaded and loaded. Then, an error message popped up saying: “Syntax error, insert “;” to complete Statement.”
Yes, I did fix the error and the beautiful message of “Hello World” was printed, yet the error made me fall in love with code. I loved the bickering my code and I had when it came to errors. I loved the problem solving and how coding challenged my logic. Throughout my life, I was the kid that wanted to know the inner workings of things and was not satisfied by just the answer. The process of discovery is the essence of what I love about computer science and led me to where I am today.
What are some of your greatest achievements?
I was chosen out of a 3,500 applicant pool to be one of the fifty National Award winners for NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing 2017 award. I also am a Stanford She++ #Include Fellow, due to being one of 30 students selected nationally out of 500, and was invited to present coderGirls at the #Include Summit in Silicon Valley through an all-expense paid weekend in the Bay Area.
Also, my film, “Fighting the Gender Gap” won the Most Innovative Solution out of all the categories, hundreds of films, and several countries for The Girls Impact the World Film Festival, presented by the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative (SIC) and Connecther.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Learn to code. Code is like poetry. In poetry, you can write words effortlessly painting an image in a person’s mind. Code allows you to create anything you want without the obstacles of class or education. Coding is not simply zeros and ones. Coding is about impacting humanity.