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

Women Who Reign: Grace Zhang

“There is some good in the world, and it is worth fighting for” — JRR Tolkien

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi, I’m Grace! I am a senior at Princeton High School who enjoys sea salt dark chocolate and procrastinating on Goodreads. I’m the founder and program leader of appsForGirls (appsforgirlscamp.com), an interdisciplinary computer science camp funded by the National Center for Women & Technology. Through a curriculum built on CS + X, rising 6th to 9th girls learn app development, the impacts of computer science on society, and the power of females in technology through mentors, speakers, field trips, career fairs, and more.

As a person who has very diverse interests in literature and computing, I chose to make the program interdisciplinary to make CS hopefully more familiar by combining it with a field the girl already enjoyed or cared about — especially fields outside of STEM such as fashion, art, sports, and music.

What # would define your life journey?
#gothroughthingsgrowthroughthings

Favorite website / app:
Spotify, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Youtube, Evernote, The New Yorker

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I am so fortunate in having an extremely great role model in my now 4 year computer science teacher, Mrs. Elia. Not only is she passionate and extremely knowledgeable in computer science, she is one of the most selfless people I know, always running around and assisting every single one of her students. Whether it’s a bug in a program, running fundraisers for the many, many tech clubs she takes time out of her day to advise, serving as a partner for appsForGirls, or throwing class parties to make people smile, she’s made such a huge impact on the lives of her students.

Perhaps my favorite story that illustrates how great she is happened on the first day of appsForGirls. I was very nervous. I was afraid of disappointing the girls, that they would be bored, that I would be a bad teacher, or that something else would go wrong. Her advice calmed me down and made me see the bigger picture, that even if just one girl continues coding because of the camp, then I will have accomplished something.  She is a constant inspiration, and part of the reason I decided to create appsForGirls is because I aspire to be just like her.

Song that makes you want to dance:
”Beautiful Life” — Kidswaste

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
First of all — I am extremely lucky that I never had to undergo challenges as significant as some in other parts of the world do.

But I think a challenge that everyone inevitably has to face is failure. Failure in any way used to be kind of a big deal for me, and I used to beat myself up about every single little thing that didn’t meet my crazy high standards. After going through many many mistakes, many times where things didn’t go my way, or moments where I got handed a kind of crappy card and there was little I could to change the situation, I started opening my eyes and seeing the value in these experiences.

Failure has given me perspective. It has taught me to focus on progress instead instead of perfection and learning for learning’s sake. It has made me flexible, resilient, by forcing me to find something good no matter how bad things have hit the fan. It has shown me the importance again of being kind, forgiving — not just to myself, but to others — because we are all human and we are all imperfect.

Ideal Job:
Something that interdisciplinary where I never do the same thing everyday.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Mindset! Is! Everything!


Grace Zhang is am a Apple WWDC ’18 Scholar, Math Prize For Girls contestant, she++ #include fellow, National Scholastic Medalist in Poetry, and an alumni of the New Jersey Governor’s School in Engineering & Technology. She is also an NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award winner and a student at Princeton High School. Grace is the founder and program leader of appsForGirls (appsforgirlscamp.com), an interdisciplinary computer science camp funded by NCWIT AspireIT grant, a K-12 Outreach Initiative for Girls.

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