2023 Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlights

In 2023, NCWIT Aspirations in Computing awarded 50 inspiring Impact Award recipients in the Aspirations in Computing (AiC) community. To celebrate and amplify recognition of their remarkable achievements, AiC showcased a series of videos recorded by the award recipients. In these videos, each NCWIT AspireIT Impact Award recipient shares, in their own words, what drove them to become changemakers. You can find links to watch and read the transcriptions below. Follow NCWITAIC on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and ​NCWIT on Linkedin for more!

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 3rd, 2023

Adedayo Sanusi: “We are serving everybody with technology and I feel like everybody should have a say in how technology works since the population that is consuming it is also so diverse, and because diversity, and ideas, and opinions can create new solutions that we wouldn't have if everybody was the same. I created my club because I believe in empowering women, other gender minorities, and others who just want to learn and might not have had access to it, to a career that could be theirs in the future. And, I believe that showing people a path that they might have not been able to have is valuable when it comes to learning new things or maybe even discovering your passions.”

Alekhya Buragadda: “In my community, I have actually launched several initiatives aimed at fostering education and empowerment. One of the main ones is hosting coding and technology workshops for girls aged 10 to 15. These workshops provide hands-on learning experiences as well as introducing them to coding languages such as Python, CSS, and HTML. Another initiative that is also active in three different countries as well is called Women Welfare, which is an organization that I founded and I’m president of. Some of the initiatives that we include in the nonprofit is: hosting coding workshops as well as we send out school supplies, and also sponsor young girls to get a full year of education. And also on a health related note, we also host food drives and send out sanitary supplies for girls who don't have access to them."

Amelia Bongiorno: “Hi, I'm Amelia Bongiorno and my personal mission is to make STEM education accessible to all students—no matter their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I accomplish this in three different communities through various initiatives. One of the communities I accomplish this in is Carlton County, my rural underserved community. I serve as a board member for young scientists of South Carolina, and through that, I was able to start the first ever high school robotics team in the county. This team is entering their third season and in these past three years, I have learned how to advocate for these students to get into the high school so more kids have the opportunity to do robotics. By doing robotics, a lot of these students have been encouraged to begin learning Java coding and Python. I've also taught them computer aided design through SolidWorks and Fusion 360.”

Amrita Acharya: “As I grew up, I became fascinated by STEM and technology, which are an integral part of our everyday lives as well as a means to keep the world functional, even when a disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic strikes. Technology and STEM education are critical for global relevance and for our country to remain a world leader; they can also bridge the gender gap and uplift our society as a whole. While the importance of STEM technology is well known, STEM education or careers is not as widely adopted as it should be, and more and more so among girls and women. As a young girl, I learned that many women in technology get discriminated against in workplaces. Many are even unaware of the computing resources available to them. Therefore, along with working towards my goal to become a STEM practitioner that impacts just my life or the life of one girl, I started promoting science and technology among young girls in my community as a STEM Influencer. I made it to a point and joined all of the above organizations that I mentioned earlier, and have been involved in various technological activities to generate and strengthen many young girls' interest in STEM.”

Angelina Kim: “Hello, my name is Angelina Kim! I am Co-Vice President of the All Girls STEM Society, a 501(c)(3) organization that strives to ameliorate the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields by hosting free monthly workshops about various STEM topics to encourage the future Generation Z and Alpha. Our participant target audiences are girls, genderqueer, and non-binary participants in grades three to eight, and our volunteers are high schoolers. I didn't have much interaction with people during COVID, but then volunteering after the pandemic made me realize that working with girls and seeing their passion for STEM was something that I had been missing my entire life—but truly wanted to do until the day I die. No matter how complicated or time consuming our workshops or curriculum development get, I am motivated to finalize and present the best workshops and events possible, not just for All Girls STEM Society, but to show girls the beauty of STEM.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 6, 2023


Ashley Malkin:
“My name is Ashley Malkin, and I'm so excited to tell you about Science Girls, a free stem mentoring program I created for elementary school girls, non-binary, and genderqueer students. Growing up, I was often the only girl in STEM classes and activities. I love computer science, but I know it can be intimidating to feel outnumbered. I wanted to create a fun, positive environment for girls to explore computer science, so I created Science Girls with workshops on topics including neuroscience, chemistry, engineering, physics, and more. Each interactive workshop includes information about how computers are utilized in the field. I also created a workshop solely dedicated to computer science, including algorithmic thinking, introductory coding, binary representation, and an intro to AI. This year I've led workshops for over 150 girls, and it's wonderful to see how excited they get about STEM.”

Ashly Martinez Rodriguez: “One of my initiatives is about hosting a web development workshop in Spanish at my school. This all started a month ago when I saw a group of Hispanic kids taking a tour at my school. I saw myself in them, seven years ago when I knew no English. This led me to host a workshop in Spanish for them to be comfortable with technology and learn something new. When it comes to my STEM workshops, I am passionate because I love to see the face of relief on a student when they walk in and they see people that look like them. I love to see the face of relief of a student when they know I speak Spanish. I love to see the face of relief on a student when they have a sense of accomplishment when they understand the material. That's why I'm passionate about what I do.”

Blossom Akpedeye: “My name's Blossom and I'm a professional tutor with over four years of experience. I'm also the founder of Savvy Sickle, which is an online educational platform that aims to help students with simple online tutoring. Through my work as a tutor, I've implemented various activities in my community, such as individual tutoring sessions, as well as study sessions. It's been a great initiative for me to assist those who struggle with access to online tutoring and who struggle with confidence in the computing industry. The desired outcome of my work is to help students achieve their academic goals, boost their confidence, and help them achieve career success in the computing industry. I'm passionate about my work because I believe that education as well as tutoring is a powerful tool that can transform lives and open doors to countless opportunities. My own personal experience as a student, as well as my interactions with my students, have greatly inspired me to pursue this goal.”

Caeley Looney: “I had a role model in my own home, my Mom, but most girls don't have anyone pushing them to try new things, let alone try out a career in STEM. So, I pulled together a team of volunteers from all over the world and created this non-profit called Reinvented. Now I'm building a strong community of female and non-binary role models in STEM for the next generation to look up to through our magazine. By sharing and amplifying the stories and putting their stories in front of thousands of girls worldwide, I'm assuring that the next generation is: growing up with diverse role models from a wide range of backgrounds within the STEM industry that they can relate to, look to for answers, and share struggles and wins with. It’s by sharing these stories that I'm able to inspire other women and young girls to pursue their own dreams in tech careers.”

Crystal Yang: “I'm an executive director for Algorithm, an annual high school programming competition dedicated to making competitive programming more accessible to high school girls. Our efforts have resulted in more than 200 participants from 10 different countries, and we have raised over $15,000 in prizes from corporate sponsorships. I'm proud to have created a platform where girls could compete by solving competitive programming problems. Lastly, I organized Katy Youth Hacks, a hackathon where participants create innovative solutions to tackle the social equity issues that they are most passionate about. Last year, we attracted around 200 participants from over 22 countries and obtained over $31,000 in prizes. Winning projects include an app to help people in food deserts and a data analyzing tool to reduce high school dropout rates. Overall, my initiatives have inspired thousands of girls and people in my community to pursue computer science.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 10, 2023

Diya Desai:
“Hi, I am Diya Desai! Some of the initiatives I founded and lead include the Circle of Friends program, where I teach 15 special education elementary student girls STEM basics in order to remove the stigma surrounding this underrepresented community. Additionally, I also lead the service learning and mentorship program called Slam, where I volunteer weekly to help persistently lowest achieving elementary students and share mine and my peers expertise and passion for this field of computing with those who haven't been provided the same opportunities due to socioeconomic disparities. As president of my school's Girls and Code Club, I work to bring more girls into the field of computing and develop a strong network of like-minded, motivated women. I'm passionate about the work that I do because I understand the difference that seeing more women in tech related fields can have.”

Eliana Wang: “The desired outcome from my workshops, classes, and demonstrations is that children could gain a positive experience in computer science at a young age so that they can continue to pursue that path in the future. To broaden participation and create more opportunities in computer science, I've actively encouraged girls to participate in my workshops by offering courses that are more geared toward their interests. Additionally, in 2021, I led my Forage Club to refurbish and donate a dozen used computers for the community to use for computer science education. I'm inspired to teach children because I want them to connect computer science to what they're interested in and passionate about. Just like how I became interested in computer science through a fashion-themed Scratch course, I want other children to also explore connecting computer science to their interests. I feel greatly rewarded when I see their faces light up when they complete a project or when they understand a concept.”

Elizabeth Gorman: “Hello, my name is Elizabeth Gorman and the initiative I will be talking about is my robotics team, the Misfits FRC team 6418. We're an all girls and non-binary student community team from San Francisco, although we have students participating from all around the Bay Area. Because we are an FRC team, per first rules, only high school age students can participate as members on the team. The team has done many outreach initiatives like summer workshop courses and working booths at Maker Faires in order to introduce robotics to a wider range of students. My goal for the main impact of the team is to introduce young women and non-binary students to the impact and opportunities that come from getting introduced to technology at a young age. Part of the mission of the Misfits is to create an inclusive environment where everyone can participate and learn regardless of background.”

Emmie Kao: “Inspired by my work with the All Girls STEM Society and Kid by Kid, I decided to start Data Science for Change, a high school club that focuses on educating students about the different aspects and uses of data science—and then enabling these students to use these skills to make a change in the school community through a group project. The reason why I enjoy teaching peers and younger students is because I enjoy computing and problem solving, and I love sharing that joy and knowledge with others. When I was in middle school, I was only just discovering my love of computing, learning Java for the very first time. But I know for a fact that even earlier in life, my elementary school self would've been incredibly excited at the prospect of learning about computing, either in a group or with a mentor. Now, having the opportunity to teach an elementary schooler how to code or teach a middle schooler about cybersecurity, enables me to share my own interests with someone who loves these topics just as much as I do.”

Eniola Aloba: “Some ways that I have helped to implement technology in my community is through teaching mainly girls and non-binary individuals at my school, how to code and get interested in technology through my role of presidency of the Girls Who Code Club. And not only that, I also serve as a member of the Army Educational Outreach Council, where I work to engage students of all backgrounds to develop an interest in STEM and work to seek for more opportunities. I'm passionate about teaching and finding opportunities for others because I know I'm making a change for something great. As a Black woman, I find it often hard to feel qualified or uplifted to partake in activities and events, not only because I'm a minority, but also because I'm a woman. Being a voice to help other minorities like me encourages me to know that I can do something incredibly remarkable in the world.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 12, 2023


Harini Thiagarajan:
“As a feminist by heart, it has always taken more effort to establish myself as a woman capable enough to perceive STEM. I vividly remember my freshman year attending a career panel from the University of Washington's SWE chapter—I was so inspired by these women succeeding in their respective engineering fields and gained confidence in my abilities to do so as well. As a result, I focused my impact on restoring female participation in STEM fields through my ventures at Harvard B Code, Kode with Klossy, and especially SWE. I founded the Sweet Next chapter at my high school under our math club, one of the biggest STEM clubs at our high school. Our chapter helps outsource STEM and leadership internships, college application advice, high school sweet conference involvement, summer internship opportunities, and hackathon opportunities. Additionally, we collaborate with SWE UW through workshops attended by both middle and high schoolers. On an international scale. I'm directly involved with ASHA for Education, which catalyzes socioeconomic change in India by educating underprivileged and minority children.”

Isabel Amaya: “Hello, my name Isabel Amaya, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to share the impact I've made within my community. Throughout this process, I have worked tirelessly to connect women and non-binary individuals of high school age towards the computing industry. Today I would like to provide you with a detailed overview of my initiatives and the impact they have created. One significant initiative involved organizing a district-wide hackathon that focused on increasing the participation of underrepresented groups. We aim to provide a platform for forgotten communities to showcase the talents that they can provide towards the industry. We achieved remarkable results with this—with 33% of our participants coming from an underrepresented background. The event demonstrated the transformative power of opportunity and highlighted the significant impact these communities can have when given a chance.”

Jayashabari Shankar: “Hello, my name is Jayashabari Shankar, and I am from Salt Lake City, Utah. I will be talking about my project genius, g e n e I u S, like the word gene At Genius. What I do is not just teach students about, uh, informatics, about engineering, and about these basic processes that make engineering what it is at heart. Engineering is just problem solving. I don't want to teach students just problem solving and just these techniques, though, ingenious. What I want to do is by showing these students these hands-on activities, I want them to see that if they can do this, if they can solve a P C R, uh, problem using, you know, bio biotechnology, if they can do that on such small scale, um, uh, with my activities, then maybe envision themselves doing, you know, technology and engineering in a career as well.”

Jiangyi (Joy) Zou: “As a founder and executive director of my non-profit organization, She Leads, I've worked with local schools and libraries to help post educational workshops for over 300 female and non-binary students in order to help bridge the gender gap and tech. Both have brought computer science education to my school community. As a founder and president of my high school coding club, I've taught our 30 plus members about computer science and how to code. Additionally, I've organized and taught workshops on design thinking, coding, and more to young children through my work, increasing youth digital literacy. I also volunteered to organize over five beginner friendly hackathons with over 1,400 attendees total to increase outreach, to create educational opportunities, and support the community for gender minorities in STEM—most notably, was Superposition, Bay Area's largest female and non-binary hackathon in partnership with Uber and Hydro Hacks, West Coast's largest gender focused hackathon.”

Juhae Song: “My mom calls me a dreamer, because ever since I was a little kid, I've always had overly ambitious dreams; but I realized that as I grew up, my ambitious dreams and aspirations led me to unexpected and new passions: debate helped me find my voice and taught me to advocate for myself, for my dreams, and for others; robotics taught me how to work collaboratively and encouraged my passion in STEM; and my collective experiences have led me to discover the person who I am today—a proud, queer, non-binary Asian American. My journey of self-discovery inspired me to help others discover who they truly are by creating inclusive, diverse, and accessible communities in the oftentimes inaccessible and unwelcoming STEM field. That's why I started a new Society of Women Engineers next chapter at my school and started various gender and racial diversity initiatives in my community.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 17, 2023


Kylie Cameron:
“My second organization, Rural Women in STEM, means to bring STEM educational equity to girls in remote, rural, and Appalachian areas just like myself. Here, I offer free computing courses in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C, and Python to girls in rural, remote, or Appalachian areas. I also programmed a scholarship search tool that girls can use to fund their own computing education through scholarships and I'm actively working to build a community of female STEM professionals that can be paired with these girls in rural areas to complete projects and serve as a mentor to them. This summer, I'm also working to make 3D printing STEM kits that can be checked out at local libraries and local school libraries by younger girls, in kindergarten through early middle school. I'm passionate about the work I do because I'm solving the issues I've personally faced. Many create projects like these as something to boost a college application; I have curated my projects based on problems I have seen as a woman living in a rural area with little to no resources in computing. I learn from my organizations and those who are club members of them, which makes the work completely worth it.”

Leilani Phan: “My name is Leilani Phan and an initiative I started is the Hawaii First Tech Challenge, FTC Hackathon. This two day event lets students who haven't experienced robotics before get the season experience by building a robot on the first day and competing in the scrimmage the second day, while being able to attend different workshops to further their knowledge. Another initiative that I'm a part of is a collaboration with the Armed Services YMCA, Hawaii. ASYMCA is a nonprofit organization in which we collaborate every summer to be able to host different robotics camps on the military bases in the island of Oahu and teach these kids robotics—which they haven't been able to experience before. Every summer, we've been able to hit between 160 to 200 kids, and as the project manager and the lead EV4 teacher, I can say that these kids have definitely made an impact in how I want to work with others and how I want to help my community.”

Mehar Bhasin: “Over time, I've realized that there are strong gender disparities in STEM and many females suffer in silence—hence, I decided to act. In 2020, I co-founded Steam Bloom, a global student run, tech-focused registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit initiative focused on promoting computer science and tech ethics among young girls, women, genderqueer, and non-binary people. I provided them with access to world class CS resources for free. Specifically, I've organized 25 plus CS-focused summer programs, conferences, classroom sessions, online courses, and published 10+ blogs and conducted 10+ podcasts and interviews. Steam Bloom has managed to reach 2000 plus students spanning 25+ countries. While co-leading Steam Bloom, my approach to leadership is firmly shared and rooted in informally mentoring and developing other community members.”

Michelle Han: “Hi everyone, I'm Michelle Han! I created Superposition Granite Bay after observing two key problems at my school. First, a general lack of interest in STEM, and second, a lack of participation from underrepresented genders. So, I started by establishing the club Superposition Granite Bay under our parent organization Superposition. There are three main initiatives that I implemented. The first was bi-monthly speaker sessions where I invited local, female, and non-binary professionals from various STEM fields and diverse backgrounds. These included software engineers, data analysts, and information architects to come and chat with our club members where they shared their experiences and insights—which really helped to spark interest among our members. But Superposition doesn't just focus on high school students. Our final initiative was our after school workshops. During the fall, I reached out to the principal’s of local elementary and middle schools in our school district to give after school workshops on different STEM topics, particularly computing.”

Morgan Lin: “Through Little League Coding, we have reached over 900 students, taught over 450 students, and 97% of our students come from underrepresented minorities and identify as BIPOC, and over 55% identify as females. It's so inspiring to see that we have such a diverse community of learners and we have really grown to be a family: a family of parents, students, high schoolers teaching students, mentors, and learners who really, really are passionate about computer science. Something that I've always wanted to instill to anyone I've taught or to anyone I've come across, is that there's so much we can do beyond computer science and technology; so much beyond ourselves to better our worlds and create real impact in our communities—with technology we can do just that.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 20, 2023


Nachammai Annamalai: “At the start of ninth grade, I attended a robotics interest meeting and found that I and a few of my friends were the only females there. However, after meeting an all girls robotics team and being a part of it, I have come to emphasize the concept of “STEMinism” and heighten opportunities for these women and marginalized genders in our community. I started an initiative to empower the youth in my community and to provide them with hands-on experiences that would be remembered for a lifetime. I founded a STEM workshop initiative entailing monthly workshops, each centered on completely different STEM concepts, such as battery powered cars, pneumatic machines, robotics, and et cetera. This program is mainly targeted towards high school and middle school students with a deep interest in the STEM field. As this program continues, I hope that there is more diversity within the receiving population. Every month getting to meet new students and listening to their spark moments is truly insightful.”

Nasrin Ali: “To give a brief overview of the work that I do in my community, I'm the president of Minors in Computing and the president of my NSBE chapter on campus. I'm a tutor for EduTutorVA, which is an organization that provides tutors to underprivileged students in the Virginia area to students who need extra help. I also want to increase the number of people who look like me and people who are underrepresented in the computing field because we need a lot more of us to overcome things like bias— and just underrepresentation in general. I'm passionate about the work that I do because I want to show other people that although we are underrepresented in technology, that doesn't mean that we're not capable, that we don't deserve the chance to show up and show what we can do, and I want to bring more people into that.”

Nehal Singh: “Hello, I'm Neha Singh and I'm an avid computer science tutor, curriculum designer, and executive leader at several student-led nonprofits that have provided high quality courses to hundreds of students. These non-profits all seek to provide free, accessible, and interactive computer science courses in grade level math and science courses to minority groups to promote equal representation and expose young students to programming. Apart from this, I also co-founded a club called Books for Sudan at my high school, where we write and publish interactive digital eBooks to send to children in Sudan who have limited learning opportunities. Our goal is to incorporate creativity into community service by sending seven iPads to Sudan this year, along with our eBooks about vaccines, natural disasters, and geography. Lastly, I'm the founder of Times for Everyone, an educational blog targeted towards young students in grades 2-8 to expose 'em to the ideas of STEM and environmental sustainability.”

Nidhi Gaonkar: “My main goal when joining and creating my organizations was to unify and help people with shared passions no matter their background. I believe that the only way for STEM in the world to evolve is by accepting increasingly diverse viewpoints and ideas. To do this, more opportunities for marginalized groups must be created. Through my peer organizations Dougherty Math Circle, Girls Who Code, and IntelliHer I've taught and implemented free math programming and data science classes for hundreds of students. I've also hosted speaker events and workshops for students across my state and for students across the West Coast. My target audience is all ages, but especially those who have not yet reached high school or those who are just starting high school. Most of these students have joined these classes with little experience or familiarity with these subjects. I'm inspired by the way I can see young students discover their passions with guidance from experienced individuals, and also I love connecting two topics that seem unrelated. By setting up my organizations, I've been able to provide a space for marginalized people to grow their skills and pursue their passions without restraint.”

Nkechi Akinwale: “I'm so passionate about mentoring young people with a special focus on girls and other marginalized communities in two ways: the first is to encourage them to overcome barriers and pursue university education, and secondly, pursue STEM degrees. I’ve impacted a whole lot of lives through my non-profit organization and through volunteering with other organizations. Impacting generations is important to me—that is why I do what I do. Soft Seven Initiative, my non-profit, was born out of a desire to address the challenges that were faced by young people in the low-income community I grew up in Nigeria. Through my mentorship and empowerment activities, I'm happy to empower and inspire young people to overcome obstacles, achieve their full potential, and pursue careers in science and technology.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 25, 2023


Priya Sinha:“Hi everyone, I'm Priya Sinha. In my local community, I founded the only U.S. chapter of Society of Women Coders, an organization aimed at helping communities that are underrepresented, find the resources they need to explore computer science fields. I'm currently the only U.S. Ambassador for the organization—it's my job to help underserved communities and girls or those who identify as non-binary or genderqueer from low-income families around the U.S. and in my local community. I'm passionate about all of this because as a person of color and a woman I've personally felt Imposter Syndrome, especially at my school and in computer science in general because it's a very male dominated field. I want to change that and I want to foster a community of supportive and loving girls who will make no one feel like an imposter.”

Radha Munver: “Through Schoolhouse World, an online tutoring platform run by Khan Academy, I have connected with students across all seven continents, from middle schoolers to college students teaching them mathematics and computer science. From leveraging online platforms, we can use technology to bridge learning gaps and provide support. As a programmer for my high school robotics team at school, I also serve as a mentor for the middle school FIRST LEGO League robotics team, inspiring them to work through the engineering design process and look forward to higher level STEM activities. Making a difference goes beyond direct STEM commitments. I organized a 5k run for the Sharon Care Foundation, raising $2,000 in funds to support underprivileged women and girls in India. With these funds, we provided STEM kits and educational opportunities empowering them to pursue their dreams. When we empower women in STEM, we tap into a wealth of talent and perspectives that fuel innovation and drive societal progress. As role models, mentors and advocates, it’s in our hands to inspire the next generation.”

Reeti Rout: “Hi, I'm Reeti Rout, a co-founder of We Make Forage, which provides free STEM workshops to students in underserved communities. I was introduced to STEM from an early age as I participated in robotics competitions where I started out with basic drag and drop programming. I also attended various other after school activities such as the New York Maker Fair or Afterschool Science Programs. As memorable as these events were for me, it was evident that there was a stark demographic gap in many of these activities. To address this, I wanted to bring the hands-on STEM experiences that sparked my interest in STEM to underrepresented communities, in particular. So, I co-founded We Make Forage, collaborating with Middlesex County Forage, and our organization has been providing free programs at 4-H Centers, Boys and Girls clubs, community centers, and libraries for the past seven years.”

Sanjana Duttagupta: “I'm passionate about this because I didn't always see myself in CS until I started working on my own projects, and that's where my app really comes in. I've been working on this app for the past almost three years, and I finally got it published this past month on the app store—it's called Reveal the Ingredient. I've also worked on some other projects that have exposed me to machine learning, and these are really the things that have cemented the idea that I have a place in CS in the future and I want other people to feel that way. Truly, I believe the best way to do that is through projects; I’m most inspired when students turn knowledge and interest of a topic into a CS project. I knew I was making a difference, especially in those AI club meetings, when members genuinely enjoyed the activities and started to think about creative ideas of AI applications in the real world—turning their passions into an idea that they can work with and turn into something that could help them and also help others.”

Shivika Varshney: “Hi! My name is Shivika Varshney and I'm a co-founder of the non-profit Coder World. Coder World offers free virtual computer science classes to girls and non-binaries between the ages of 11 and 21. As an organization, we have taught over 50 students and have reached over a 100 students across seven countries. We have hosted multiple camps and workshops, including introductory camps and Python and web development, as well as app design, and Java workshops. Additionally, we initiated a one-on-one mentorship program that allows students to receive personalized instruction on various topics in computer science. They select what they need help in, whether it's homework or simply learning a new language, and they're paired with the mentor that can best help them achieve their goals. Students get 10 full sessions with their mentors and have access to slides and extra resources after their sessions are completed for future reference.”

Watch the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Impact Award Recipient Spotlight Videos

Originally shared on October 27, 2023


Simran Malhotra: “Ever since I was a little girl and I got my hands on my first box of Legos, I knew I wanted to do something in the field of engineering and technology. So once I became a freshman, I joined my first computer science class. At first, I was super excited and passionate about the class; however, as soon as I walked to the class, I was a little shocked. I saw that there were 17 other guys, but no girls—I was the only girl in the entire class. So, I started volunteering in my lower school; I thought that we should start making change from the younger generation. I started volunteering there and mentoring little kids in computer science and not only that, but teaching them about equality in this subject. I had some experience because once when I was little, I used to help my brother in his chess program and help him volunteer with elders who had Alzheimer's and younger kids, as well. I'd had experience from that and I wanted to push that experience into my high school as well.”

Udgita Pamidigantam: “I have attended a school that provided me with a perfect platform for STEM education, and I realized that it is a unique privilege, which many of my fellow students were deprived of and decided to act. Through various outreach events and other creative campaigns, I have reached out to young minds from marginalized communities to nurture their computing skills. Outside of school, too, I have handled many leadership roles where I used my influence to make an impact and promote STEM awareness within underprivileged communities. The primary service channel towards which I have dedicated considerable time over the last three years, is the non-profit organization that I co-founded in 2018. The mission of the organization is to spread actionable STEM awareness. My work here is not limited to sharing knowledge, but to ignite a passion for further exploration. While most programs we organize are open to all, we do specifically target young students with lesser privileges in order to achieve gender and socio-economic equity.”

Valencia Coleman: “I am in the game industry as a game plan engineer and I’m also a IGGA Foundation Alumni Coordinator. The IGDA Foundation is the International Game Developer Association Foundation, and I spend time talking to alumni and people who want to be in the gaming industry, especially people of marginalized backgrounds, how they can get into the gaming industry. One of the biggest things I did while at the IDGA Foundation, is create different workshops, events, and creating the alumni weekend. I spent a lot of time with people who left the program to create a whole weekend about them—giving speeches and talks so that they feel comfortable to give speeches and talk when they go into interviews, conferences, and all sorts of gaming events.”

Vittoria Riedling: “I was co-founder and organizer of the 502 Hacks hackathon, and this is a social coding event and it's free for all middle and high school students in the Louisville area. I started this initiative because I wanted to teach students how to code outside of my school and also build up and establish a student coding community in Louisville. One of my main goals was to have this event be free of cost, so there was no financial burden so any student could attend that was interested in learning to code. Through my school, I was able to provide laptops for every student, so again, that financial burden did not stop anyone from attending.”

Yuchen Pan: “As a student mentor, I teach Java lessons and also provide guidance to new team members. Our team also conducts regular visits to a nearby senior center, introducing all individuals to technology and participating in events like STEAM Dream Day—it's a program where we inspire young kids by showcasing the possibility of STEM through interactive activities in robot demonstrations. The second initiative that is close to my heart is my role as a student mentor for Girls Who Code. I’ve had the privilege of guiding and inspiring young girls to explore the world of computer science. Through weekly mentoring sessions, I teach them programming languages, problem solving skills, and also foster their enthusiasm for technology. It is incredibly rewarding to witness their growth and see them embrace their potential in a male-dominated field. In China, I have collaborated with local activists to advocate for more affordable menstrual products and also better menstrual education for low-income women.”

Zinia Khattar: “In 2020, I kept thinking about my future and how I can make an impact. One evening I listened to my friend talk about how she finally got accepted into a program after years of waiting to pass the age restriction, but then the program was canceled because of COVID protocols. Ultimately, she never got to pursue the research of her interest. Her experience sparked me to lead an organization that would help students get unlimited access to exclusive internships. I wanted to ensure that my peers will never endure a similar ordeal—and by establishing Scientella, I accomplished that goal. Scientella is a student-run, adult-guided organization that empowers the next generation of women STEM leaders by matching students with career discovery and leadership developmental opportunities. By working with professionals, specializing in many fields all the way from quantum computing to cellular biology, students gain valuable insights on STEM careers.”

Lifetime Partner
Strategic Partners
Investment Partners