#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · Computer Science · education · inspiration · Technology · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Omika Suryawanshi

“We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.” -Antonio Damasio


Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m 16 years old, and currently a rising senior at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, CT. I am the founder of an international nonprofit called Leap Into Technology – or lit – (www.leapintotechnology.org), which aims to bridge the gender gap and to inspire girls around the world to immerse themselves in one of the largest fields of the era. I enjoy coding, and created my first website in 2nd grade, along with one of my friends. I also enjoy the physical aspect of computing, such as soldering and wiring robots. I have programmed and built my own robot to monitor levels of light, temperature, and carbon in a local lake, and have also performed data analysis research regarding the gender gap in technology.
Fun fact: I love finger painting!


What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
facebook.com! Despite being a massive outlet for people’s personal lives, Facebook is also a wonderful place to forge connections, network, and see what’s happening in the tech world on a second-by-second basis! By that same strain, LinkedIn is a great place to lurk and see what people are sharing on a professional level, and to look at people’s professional accomplishments.

Another great website for technology is codesters.org – they have great tutorials and they’re really entertaining.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My mother is my most obvious inspiration. She grew up in a conservative family in a conservative town in India. But she pushed for an education in computer science, and came to the United States to pursue her own career path. Now, she excels as a woman in technology. She taught me about the opportunity and promise that technology can provide, and I hope to impart that same knowledge to girls everywhere.

Song that makes you want to dance:
“Slide” ft. Frank Ocean, “Migos” by Calvin Harris!!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I first set out on my mission to inspire girls to view technology as a serious career path for their futures, I faced a lot of roadblocks from my own high school. There were a lot of administrators who were concerned about the implications of my club, especially since it focused on women. When the push-back from my school made it apparent that they were not interested in supporting lit, I turned to my local library, and then used my experience there to open it up to people first in my county, then across the state, then across the world. I could have easily given up when I faced my initial failure, but my drive helped propel my mission forward.

Ideal Job:
At this point in my life, I love public speaking and I love STEM. Hopefully, when I enter the workforce I will have a position that allows me to both work with technical issues while also dealing with people on a regular basis.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Make sure you look for as many opportunities as possible – it doesn’t matter if it’s a long shot. Just attempting to apply for as many awards and positions as possible is an incredibly rewarding process.

Omika is an NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award winner!


Learn more about Omika! Check out her blog: www.omika.me


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