CS Interview #3: GWC Summit held by Amador Valley Girls Who Code Club

Amador Valley High School Girls Who Code club (AVHS GWC) is a chapter of the national GirlsWhoCode organization. Through introducing girls to coding, they hope to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM and close the gender gap in technology. For my third interview in my CS Students Interview Series, I talked with Anusha Maheshwari from AVHS GWC about their award winning GWC Summit. 

When did you host the first GWC Summit and what inspired you to host the summit? 

We first hosted the GWC Summit in March 2020, and we were motivated by patterns in the statistics when it comes to girls in STEM, particularly in the tech sector. Studies show that girls tend to be interested in STEM at around age 11 but drop off at 15 due to a lack of opportunities to further this interest. In today’s workforce, women make up only 25% of the computing workforce, so we wanted to do something to give younger girls the opportunity to explore tech in a supportive environment.

What are your major goals in hosting this summit?

The main goal of the summit is to develop younger girls’ interest in STEM and to show them how fun coding can be! We hope to encourage the next generation of coders to pursue their dreams and to instill in them the confidence that they can succeed in a STEM-based career. 

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CS Interview #2: 2020 Congressional App Challenge Winner

Hello! For my second interview in my CS Students Interview Series, I talked to Audrey Ha, a winner of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge (CAC). The CAC is a prestigious prize that students can win by designing, creating, and coding an app that fits the district-specific challenge. The CAC was created by members of the US House of Representatives with the goal of teaching middle and high school age students how to code. For more information, check out the CAC website: https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/about/

Audrey Ha heard about this challenge through her local high school’s AP Java teacher. For the challenge, she focused her app on hurricane relief for two main reasons, the first being that the 2020 hurricane season was a record breaking one. Second, she thought that the speed and accuracy of machine learning could help the US organize relief efforts for natural disasters. Her award-winning app, SurveyHurricane, uses artificial intelligence to accurately and quickly detect damaged houses on aerial imagery of storm-impacted regions. Her app uses object detection and image classification neural networks to locate these damaged houses. 

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CS Interview #1: 18-Year-Old App Developer

Hello! It’s been a while since I last posted. I have been working on a series of interviews featuring students and young adults involved in interesting CS projects that will be published over the next couple of months. 

For this blog post, I interviewed an incoming Freshman at the University of California, Berkeley (Cal). Tyler is a self-taught programmer who plans on studying CS at Cal. Below are the most important points from our interview including information about his new project:

  1. Tyler first learned to program at a young age by downloading random freeware from different indie developers. He watched tutorials on YouTube, read source code and documentation, and watched talks by other developers to learn about programming culture and style.
  2. In order to both dive deeper into his passion for programming and prepare him for university, Tyler participated in Stanford’s STEM to SHTEM program. As part of this program, Tyler and a group of other students were tasked with investigating the compressibility of genomes of different DNA sequences. To do this, they had to take input files of raw sequencing data, construct a pipeline for processing each sequence, then streamline the results into a single format and generate graphs. Tyler said this experience was “incredibly valuable” as it taught him new-found skills in a fun and engaging way. 
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Menlo-Atherton High School’s First Ever Coding Career Conference

Hi again! For a quick reminder, my name is Amelia and I am a sophomore at Menlo-Atherton High School (M-A) in Atherton, California. Last year, I founded the Menlo-Atherton Coding Club for Teens – a school club designed to teach coding languages to both members and younger kids in the community. Currently, we host two sessions a week over Zoom as our club has expanded to over 45 active members! A senior at M-A teaches Go (a programming language designed by Google that is similar to C) for the first session, and I partnered with a college student to teach Python for the second session. A few months ago, we had the chance to represent the M-A Coding Club in person for Club Rush, where due to Covid-19 students drove through carpool to learn about the different clubs on campus. Below is an image of me along with two club members at Club Rush.

Our table and banner at Club Rush.

In April of 2021, I led M-A’s First Ever Coding Career Conference- a two day conference where over 40 students joined to hear about different career paths in the computer science area. I had this idea a few months ago as I personally am interested in learning about jobs in the technology sector, and thought about how other students must be interested too! The mini conference over Zoom was centered around the theme of the advantages and disadvantages of tech jobs at big companies versus small companies. 

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Introduction to FRC 2021 Season: M-A’s Robotics Team

Hi, my name is Amelia and I am a sophomore in high school based in Menlo Park, California. I am very involved in promoting computer science in my community through robotics and computer science clubs. I help lead the Menlo-Atherton High School’s Robotics Team that participates in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) every year.

A typical season consists of 16-hour weeks working tirelessly to brainstorm, prototype, build, and, my favorite part, program our robot. The image below highlights our robot from the 2020 season – Infinite Recharge. The objective was to design a robot that could work with an alliance to shoot foam balls into a variety of goals for points and balance a monkey bar, called the Shield Generator, for end game. I specifically worked on the hook mechanism; I designed a hook that could lift the robot up, and then move along the monkey bar in order to balance it. 

Our robot for the 2020 Infinite Recharge season
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