NCWIT

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Each year NCWIT, or the National Center for Women and Information and Technology, awards girls across the country Aspirations in Computing Awards for their efforts and aspirations in computing. I was fortunate enough to be a National Runner Up and a New Jersey Winner for 2015. I am beyond honored and amazed at the opportunities it has opened for me.

My National Runner Up Certificate and prize was mailed to me, and the NJ ceremony was held at Kean University. There were amazing speakers, and then the girls were awarded the glass trophy and even received some fun swag from sponsors. I met amazing girls there and also was able to see some friends I already knew and met through computing related activities. I had so much fun!

PearlHacks

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This past weekend I attended Pearl Hacks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was an amazing weekend filled with great mentors, meeting new friends, late night coding frustrations, and cup stacking. On the way there, our bus broke down, so we had less time to make a project, so we slept very little. Although, I met amazing new friends and had great teammates!

We built Pearl Runner, based off of Super Mario, although the aim to promote STDs. The girl would run away from STDs  by jumping over chlamydia and collecting condoms to protect herself. There was even a fun easter egg we placed that if you collected a Pearl, you were invincible for 10 seconds. It was a humorous way to raise attention over the fact that many people are not properly educated about safe sex, causing STDs to spread.

Our project won top high school hack which was sponsored by Google. It was an amazing feeling getting recognition for our fun project, and the prize was being fast forwarded to the Google CSSI Final Interviews once we are a high school senior! Cannot wait until then!

Hacking Generation Y

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On January 24th to 25th, I attended a national high school Hackathon called Hacking Generation Y. This amazing event took place in Redwood City, California, and about 450 students from across the country and even the world attended. It was my first big hackathon, so it was really scary at first, but also exciting since it was my first time flying alone.

The event was amazing and very inspirational. I met such amazing people, people who are my age and also have similar interests. Seeing such talented people made me proud to be in the direction I am headed.

My team and I made built Handi-Hacked, which used a wheelchair as a input device for virtual reality.  The purpose was to make virtual reality more immersive and more accessible to those who are handicapped. It was fun to use, and also brought awareness about being handicapped. We used Unity, Java, C# to code it, and to build it we used two mice, a wheelchair, a makeshift platform to keep the wheelchair stationary, and the oculus rift.

We pitched in the final eight, and in the end, we won third place. The prize for the top three teams was admission and reimbursements for MHacks (at the University of Michigan) and HackTech (at CalTech). Also, I was admitted to MakeSchool, and received fun stickers and a very bright orange sweater. I was even able to meet fellow HackEDU club organizers. Also, I made it to semi-finals in the Mario Kart competition!

It was so much fun and I can’t wait for more hackathons to attend!

Computer Classes

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This past few weeks I have been a volunteer teacher at a local community center for women. Here many different classes are taught, from English conversation to Yoga, women from the community come to learn new skills. I became a volunteer for the computer class and was the sole teacher. It was really fun to teach the ladies the basics of computers and helping spread my love of computers to others. I was a volunteer for nine weeks and I really enjoyed myself there. I love community service and it was fun to give back in the form of technology. I hope to return and teach another class. Pictured here is one of the ladies and I.

CodeNow

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Last month, I participated in the CodeNow Fall Workshop in New York City.

Since launching in 2011, CodeNow has provided more than 23,000 hours of free training and awarded 216 laptops to its students. This serves as a tool for discovering new skills, while also instilling a unique sense of value and accomplishment. Students who graduate from CodeNow see the inner workings of technology and are able to build programs with ease and confidence!

It was a great experience where I expanded on my knowledge of coding by learning Ruby. From a colorful game to an encryptor, I learned so many thing and it was really fun. I was able to meet new people, it is very inspiring to have people my age learning to code. It is a motivation and confidence booster. Despite only being three days long, the workshop helped me vastly and helped excite me to continue computer science.

After graduating, I have been coding more often, and it was a great push. My favorite activity was the colorize gem in Ruby, it was so much fun! I hope to spread what I learned to my computer science club at school, which I am co-president of.

Girls Who Code

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I have decided to make this blog in order to document my Computer Science journey. Right now I am in the beginning of my journey, so I want to make sure that I keep track of my achievements. The biggest one of all so far was GIRLS WHO CODE

What is Girls Who Code and the Summer Immersion program?

  • Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.
  • The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program represents an innovative approach to computer science education, pairing seven weeks of intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with engaging, career-focused mentorship and exposure led by the industry’s top female entrepreneurs and engineers. (girlswhocode.com)

How has it changed my life?

It has confirmed my interest in technology, and I now love computer science. It makes me so happy and proud to know that I am capable of building such great things! In the summer program, I learned so much. I learned the fundamentals with Scratch, then we also learned Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript. Not only did we grow our skills, but also our entrepreneurship and social skills. The girls were amazing, a inspiration to push my self to be the best I could be. Through the summer program with the support of my teacher, teacher assistants, and classmates, I feel more confident on becoming a girl in technology.

I cannot wait to see what the future lies for me in technology.