2014 #include Fellows
Amanda Chen is currently a junior at The Spence School. Her interest in technology began when she started experimenting with personal websites in middle school. Last summer, Amanda took part in the Girls Who Code summer immersion program, where she learned about topics ranging from artificial intelligence to mobile app development. Aside from coding, her hobbies include painting and playing badminton. She enjoys combining her artistic and technological abilities to enhance user experience using graphic design. Amanda is also passionate about social entrepreneurship, and hopes to use her skills to promote change and inspire more girls to pursue computer science.
Recently Asha and her sister organized a ‘community tech day’ for kids in the Decatur, GA community, which included two well attended Scratch programming classes, at her alma mater’s science fair. At the tech day, they also talked about the plethora of Computer science games available online. Since then, Asha and her sister have volunteered to teach and tutor Scratch programming and Lego Mindstorm robotics to kids at the International Community School.
Avanika is from Palo Alto, California and is a freshman at Palo Alto High School. She is very passionate about Computer Science and tennis. Her first exposure to Computer Science was in a computer creations class in middle school. She had a great teacher who encouraged her to follow her passion in Computer Science and helped her develop her interest. Outside of school, Avanika’s greatest passion is tennis. She is a competitive junior tennis player and has been competing since she was 10. She loves traveling for tennis tournaments and meeting new friends. Avanika is an avid reader, and also enjoys skiing and surfing.
For her #include initiative, Avanika started the American Computer Science League club at her high school. The club has become a platform for kids interested in programming contests. Her other project involved bringing technology to underprivileged kids. Avanika noticed there was a big gap in opportunities between her and students from East Palo Alto who did not have exposure to Computer Science. To bridge this gap, Avanika introduced Tynker, a software that teaches programming, to an after school program for children in East Palo Alto. She hopes Tynker will give these kids a chance to explore a field they may not have had access to before.
Brooke L. is currently a junior at South Fayette High School in McDonald, PA. Although interested in computers at an early age, she has just recently fallen in love with the field. After participating in the Andrew's Leap program at Carnegie Mellon University, she hopes to pursue a career in computer science. Andrew's Leap is a 7 week summer enrichment program in which students are exposed to the frontiers of computer science research. Her love for gaming has also inspired her to consider a career in video game design. Along with her interests in computer science, she also enjoys playing the flute and participating in jazz and concert band.
For her #include Initiative, Brooke founded and hosted an ongoing monthly series of speakers for her school district, focusing mainly on reaching middle school students. Brooke believes that many of these students stop looking at technology careers due to a lack of role models and a skewed perception of these fields. Members of the community who are involved in technology presented these talks. Dr. Gunawardena, a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor, and his daughter Naoka, who grew up loving robotics, presented the first talk. The second session consisted of three different hands on activities for students in grades K-2. The most recent session was presented by 5 employees from Schell Games, the largest game developer in Pittsburgh.
Camille Nibungco is a senior at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, CA. She likes computers and cats. Her favorite artist is Beyonce, and she loves Korean Barbequeue.
Camille started a computer club, which met every Thursday at lunch in her school’s Computer Lab. The club decided to host a local e-waste collection, and was able to collect a lot of e-waste and donate to a local S.A.F.E. Center in one weekend. By the end of the semester, Camille’s club had participated in the Hour of Code and started doing Codecademy HTML/CSS sessions together. Camille found that, as a club, they did not need a formal classroom setting if they wanted to learn about computing. All she needed was a group of people who shared this similar interest and were willing to meet once a week. Camille believes that she has shown her fellow peers that computer science is a fun and ever changing field. She hopes that her club will last long after she graduates and show others that computer science is a possible career.
Christine Wang lives in Garnet Valley, PA and is a freshman at Garnet Valley High School. At school, she loves to participate in sports such as tennis and track. Outside of school, Christine trains as a competitive figure skater. She also enjoys being a part of herschool's community service club and art murals club. In her free time, Christine likes to read, be with friends, and do anything under the sun. Once in college, Christine hopes to major in computer science and work at a medical practice center.
For her #include initiative, Christine organized a computer science panel. For this panel, two presenters came in and Christine asked them a series of questions about the technology field. After, the students asked their own questions. At the end of the panel, Christine showed the students the she++ Documentary. Christine notes that the documentary had inspired her to do the panel, and she thought it would inspire other students as well. Christine also handed out pamphlets with biographies of famous computer scientists. The panel was held in the computer science teachers classroom during enhancement periods.
Gabriella comes from Queens, New York. Gabriella is 17, and is a high school senior at Bard High School Early College Queens. She will be matriculating to Princeton University in the fall. Gabriella is a film aficionado who is also interested in philosophy and technology. She has watched over 1,000 movies and hopes to direct her own movie one day! Gabriella’s interest in computer science was sparked over the summer when she was selected to attend the Girls Who Code program. She saw that coding is an exciting adventure of problem-solving and trial and error. Gabriella loves experimenting with new functions, realizing and correcting her errors, simplifying some code, and repeating the cycle.
Hannah Tipperman is a junior in high school. She became interested in technology after attending a robotics workshop for middle-school girls. Along with her fraternal twin sister, Rachael, she formed an all girls FLL team, and her FRC team was on the winning alliance of its division at the World Championships last year. She co-founded Robot Springboard with Rachael as a 501c3 organization dedicated to promoting robotics and computing education in underserved communities. They have held programs in diverse locations, such as Homer, Alaska and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This summer she will be co-leading robotics and computing courses in Monteverde and San Jose, Costa Rica and Philadelphia. She received “Highest Distinction” honors in the NCSS Python coding challenge.
Hannah worked on her #include initiative with her sister, Rachael. Together they started BrightStart Robotics, which runs robotics and computing workshops specifically designed for parents and their kindergarten to third grade children. At these programs, parents would often remark, “we wish you had something similar for our younger children”. The BrightStart workshops pair each parent/child team with their own LEGO Mindstorms kit and a laptop. During the workshop they build a simple tribot and learn to communicate with the NXT brick, program motors, and utilize digital and analog sensors. At the conclusion of the workshop, they can complete several exercises including “Robot-Art” (drawing with a marker attached to the robot), navigating a maze, or knocking over a foam-brick tower.
Ima Christian is a Junior at Parkview High School from Atlanta, Georgia. She is an entrepreneur, a blogger, an academic tutor, a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Ima spends her weekends volunteering to teach underrepresented middle and elementary school students Lego Mindstorm NXT Robotics and Scratch Programming in Stone Mountain, GA. Ima Christian has a keen sense of where she wants to go in life. She is sure that she wants to work in Computer Science & Engineering. As of right now she is very interested in mobile application development using Android SDK and currently has two apps in the works.
Ima and her sister teamed up on their #include Initiative because they both had experience tutoring kids and teaching Lego Mindstorm Robotics and Scratch. They held a community tech day where they were able to gather kids from their old elementary school and community and spark their interest in computer science through the mediums of Scratch programming and Lego Mindstorm Robotics. They also exposed the kids to a variety of Computer science games available online. Ima and her sister have since volunteered to teach Scratch programming and robotics to kids from the International Community School.
For Josh's #include project, he is an organizer of the School's Out Hackathon; the largest high school hackathon ever. Currently in production, he's got the San Antonio community recognizing the importance of computer science. Working with the City of San Antonio and San Antonio 2020, he's been able to spread awareness of programming to schools around the city. Currently, he's raised over $100,000 in cash and in kind donations in an effort to get AS MANY students as possible pursuing computer science. The final culmination of the hackathon will take place on June 13-14 at Rackspace HQ. He hopes to see you there!
KATHERINE VAN KIRK
For her #include Initiative, Katherine formed an outreach program to get everyone at her school motivated about CS and programming. Katherine visited various Math and CS classes and gave 20-minute lectures about how to program a calculator (TI Basic). Katherine especially wanted to show the underclassmen girls that computer science can be interesting, applicable, and fun! After the Calculator-Programming lessons, Katherine and other girls interested in computer science invited Helen Hastings, a current she++ member, to come and speak about she++. Following the event, Katherine and her cohort formed a new club, called CLC (Coding Lady Colonials). They plan to do community service outreach and bring in guest speakers. Finally, Katherine is also helping to plan an upcoming event in March, a hackathon called Pilot DC. She is in charge of promoting female attendance.
Kavya is a sophomore at Hathaway Brown School, an all-girls’ school. Kavya spends her free time cracking enjoyably difficult math problems, learning random computer science topics, from Shannon entropy to Gradient Descent, delivering drugs to clots in a biomedical engineering lab at CWRU, depicting Shiva’s poses in dance, or singing classical music, but she can never really discern what part of her time is free anymore. Kavya requested to interview four leading Copernican experts for a National History Day project, which was her first view into web design and the development of analytical thinking. She is affectionately (in)famous for nerdy math and science references, which are the cornerstones by which she lives her life.
This past fall, Kavya started her school's first computer science club. Kavya’s passion and dedication to the club enabled them to participate in the Hour of Code. Additionally, Kavya is setting up a speaker series, where professionals who use computer science in their professions share the variegated applications of computer science in today's world. The list of speakers so far includes an investment manager who uses computer models for investing and trading stocks, a biomedical engineer who utilizes computer science to personalize diagnostics, and an EECS professor working on hardware security. Through this outreach, Kavya seeks to popularize computer science and its far-reaching applications.
Marilu is an aspiring engineer and loves computers. She is a junior in high school and has been coding and doing graphic/web design since since she was in 7th grade. Marilu owns a website called StemLatina.com, where she helps other students find scholarships to help them pay for college and find fun internships/camps. Marilu is also an NCWIT National Runner-Up aspirations in computing award recipient. She was awarded a grant to encourage middle school girls to learn CS. Additionally, Marilu has a passion for photography and chemistry. Her favorite CS projects to make are Apps android devices. She uses MIT App inventor and Java script. Marilu’s dream is to inspire young girls to pursue STEM fields.
Marilu’s #include initiative consisted of creating a weeklong summer camp for middle school girls. This summer camp will take place on June 9th-13th at the Ampersand school in Longwood, FL. The girls will get to hear from women in STEM fields, and take a field trip to a local center for technology to tinker with all the cool gadgets including a 3D printer. Throughout the camp the girls will be building an Android app of their choosing. The most innovative app will get placed in the app store. For the end of her event, Marilu has organized an awards ceremony, where she will give out certificates congratulating the girls on their job well done and showcase their apps to parents.
Maya Ganesan is a sixteen-year-old high school junior from Redmond, Washington. Two years ago, as a freshman, she took her first foray into computer science with an AP Computer Science class. At the end of that school year, she led a team of five students to a first place victory at Hunt the Wumpus, a Microsoft-organized game programming contest. She soon became a programmer for her FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) and FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) robotics teams, and is now programming lead and team co-captain of her FTC team. This past summer, Maya taught herself HTML and CSS and designed her personal website, www.mayaganesan.com, from scratch. She plans to study computer science in college.
To spread computer science throughout her community, Maya approached her initiative from three angles. In December, she founded TEDxRedmondWomen, a TED-style event that featured local speakers as well as live talks from TEDWomen. The event focused on inspiring young women to pursue leadership roles and careers in technology. Maya also started a monthly speaker series at hermy school; the first panel will be in mid-April. At these panels, three industry women in technology will speak to female students about the opportunities and rewards of a computing career. Finally, Maya partnered with her school’s robotics team to teach ROBOTC programming to students from a financially-challenged neighborhood in Seattle in order to help them get excited about computer science.
Megan is a junior at Tabb High School in Yorktown, Virginia. She runs varsity cross country and track and is on the varsity swim team. She also plays French Horn in band. Megan recently performed in her high school’s musical, Little Shop of Horrors. She is passionate about science and technology, and is looking at majoring in biology or bioengineering. Megan is new to computer science, and is excited to learn more about coding.
Megan says most students in her high school know very little about coding and computer science. For her #include initiative, Megan decided to help introduce them to this field. She contacted a local professional from Bentley Systems, and asked him to speak to her high school’s National Science Honor Society. He spoke about how engineers all over the world use the software his company develops and sells. The software is used to service building and bridge design, clean water initiatives, and communications. Megan says he opened her eyes, and the eyes of her peers, to the extent that technology and computer science are used in society today.
MELANIE JANE PASCUAL
Melanie is a junior at Kipp King Collegiate High School in San Lorenzo, California. Not only does Melanie support women in STEM, but she is a massive animal rights activist. She participated in Girls Who Code Twitter Summer Immersion Program last year and learned how technology can be used to one’s interest. Because Melanie is passionate about animals, she created Cupet, a website that matches animals in shelters and rescue organization with potential owners. That way, they can be matched based on personality rather than physical appearance. Melanie also plays on her school’s Girls Varsity Basketball team.
For her #include project, Melanie decided to start an AP Computer Science class. Working with her teacher, Melanie plans to be teacher aid for the class next year, as she is currently taking AP Computer Science on Amplify MOOC. After participating in Girl Who Code’s Summer Immersion Program, Melanie began to have a passion for computer science and knew that that was something she wanted to have a career in. Melanie was worried that no one would be interested in participating in an AP CS class because of common stereotypes of the class. However, after telling her classmates about her experience with Girls Who Code and describing how interesting it is working in a tech company, Melanie’s peers were more interested in enrolling in the class for next year. Although the class has not started yet, Melanie hopes next year’s AP class more than just a class, and have the students in it work on a final project for their choice on a social justice topic using computer science.
Michelle is a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School. Her passion for computer science began with her participation in the program “Girls Who Code” last summer. As a student completely inexperienced with programming beforehand, Michelle believed that by learning how to code, she was providing herself with the ability to solve problems, colossal or minuscule, found in communities and world. Since then, Michelle has attended the EDGE Conference at Google, met inspiring individuals at the Thiel Foundation’s Under 20 Summit, was honored with the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award, and won 3rd place at her first hackathon. Currently, Michelle is a student of CSTUY Saturday Hacking Sessions and plans to major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in college.
Michelle’s #include initiative was the foundation of a “Girls Who Code Club” at her high school. Held for two hours a week, the club meetings evoked and augmented her members’ interests in technology and computing through guided instruction and interactive learning of code, algorithms, application development, etc. As President, Michelle also conducted activities pertaining to hardware including the construction of BOE-Bots and programming of robots. Two professional female developers in the technology field volunteer to help co-instruct the club to further enrich members’ learning experiences. With comprehensive guidance under the tutelage of experienced mentors, Michelle says that her “Girls Who Code Club” is a welcome learning atmosphere for students enthusiastic about technology and its capabilities.
Molica is a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School. She's currently in her school's software engineering major and plans on pursuing computer science in college. Last summer, she participated in the Girls Who Code summer immersion program. Partaking in this program piqued her interest in computer science and technology, and more specifically, mobile app development. She aspires to become a leader in the tech industry and help diversify the field. Aside from coding, Molica also plays varsity lacrosse and enjoys photography.
Molica co-founded a club to encourage other girls to enter Computer Science. Molica’s club serves as a closely knit sisterhood that shows girls the potential of studying Computer Science. She started out by finding a teacher who would be interested in advising the club and providing a room to house the club. Then, she recruited girls through the club fair and the use of posters. The curriculum was provided by Girls Who Code, so with the help of two women in the tech industry who volunteered to teach, the girls learned how to develop websites and program robots. Soon after, many of the members demonstrated an interest in Computer Science and some have intentions of pursuing it.
Pairing with her local library as well as a non-profit organization entitled Girls Who Code, Nistha founded a program to teach computer science skills to high school girls through weekly classes, assisted by a female engineer from Facebook. The program uses Girls Who Code curriculum covering variables, loops, functions, and algorithms to excite and educate girls in her school district about coding, and received interest from more than 100 students. It combines teaching from guest speakers and field trips to local technology companies in the Silicon Valley.
Patrick is a sophomore at Choate Rosemary Hall. He is originally from Washington DC, but has spent most of his life in Connecticut. Patrick enjoys reading, hiking, bicycling and programming. His preferred programming languages are C++ and Python, and his preferred flavor of ice cream is cookie dough.
Patrick’s #include initiative was founding a computer programming club at his school. It has been a major success, with almost seventy members. Patrick decided to focus the club towards teaching people to code rather than focusing on those who already know how to code, and this has made the club much more accessible to newcomers. The club has also prompted a broadening of the variety computer science courses offered at his school.
Pooja is currently a junior at TJHSST in Alexandria, VA and is very interested in computer science with applications in medicine. Last summer, Pooja interned at MITRE, which was what really sparked her interest in computational neuroscience, and has actively pursued the field since then. This year, Pooja was a recipient of the NCWIT National Award for Aspirations in Computing. She also has a huge passion for encouraging girls in STEM and computer science, and founded several initiatives for this purpose; these initiatives include starting a math circle and game programming workshops for middle school girls, and a Bioinformatics Society at her school. In her spare time, Pooja loves to write, paint, and play tennis.
Pooja’s #include initiative was ProjectCSGIRLS, an initiative to cultivate a love for technology and computer science in middle school girls through a competition in which these girls developed a challenging hands-on project. Projects could be submitted in three categories: global health, a safer world, and intelligent technology. The challenge was to pick one of the themes and come up with a creative and novel solution involving computer science. Participants and award recipients were honored at an awards gala hosted at George Mason University, which featured booths on various applications of computer science and guest speakers. Pooja received tremendous support and positive feedback for this initiative and she plans to expand this program to a national scale next year.
Rachael Tipperman is a junior in high school. She became interested in computing after co-founding an all girls FLL team with her fraternal twin sister. Besides participating in FIRST robotics she and Hannah co-founded their school’s Vex robotics team and recruited 22 girls to participate; last year, their FRC team was on the winning alliance of their entire division at the World Championships. Along with Hannah she co-founded Robot Springboard as a 501c3 organization to help promote STEM education in underserved communities. They have held programs in diverse locales including Homer Alaska and Philadelphia. She will run programs this summer for middle-school girls in Philadelphia and also Costa Rica. Rachael received “Highest Distinction” honors in the NCSS Python coding challenge.
With her sister Hannah, Rachael started BrightStart Robotics. The BrightStart Robotics workshops are held at a local community library and have been incredibly well received. Presently, 50 children and parents have participated and workshops are scheduled through May and are completely subscribed with waiting lists. The girls have been asked to expand their program to neighboring libraries and are training other high school students to be workshop leaders to keep up with the demand for this program. In order to improve their workshops and learn more about STEM education for young children, Rachael and Hannah have queried each family with a post-workshop survey. Survey results document that 100% of families enjoyed the workshop and would take it again and 95% of families were interested in pursuing further STEM experiences for their children.
Raquel is a senior at Midwood High School. She has been involved with STEM K-12 education for the past four years. Raquel has worked with several robotics teams, with students ranging in age. She taught a class in Arduino to middle, high, and college level students at NYU. She also work at the Translational Neuro-Enginnering Lab at New York University. Raquel is currently working in her lab as a Visiting Research Scholar, developing circuit boards for research purposes. She wants to become a professor and share her passion for science and math with others.
For her initiative, Raquel worked with students at Brooklyn College Community Partnership to build a hydroponics farm at the Brooklyn College location. In doing so, Raquel wanted to kick start the science initiative at BCCP. She has invited STEM mentors to help her with this initiative. Raquel would like to create an interdisciplinary approach to the sciences, using interior design alongside engineers to build the farm, as BCCP is striving to help high school students become motivated about the things they are learning. A key feature of BCCP is the emphasis on the importance of the individual and their socio-emotional development. BCCP maintains that educational access is key for students to develop their interests and thrive.
Renee Tso is currently a senior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. She has been interested in computer science since she was 16, and only realized that this hobby could be turned into a career when she participated in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program hosted at Twitter. There, she learned about mobile development, robotics, web design, entrepreneurship, and networking. In her free time, Renee enjoys cooking recipes from around the world, going biking with her family, and creating art and animations.
Sandra is a current senior at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies. Her interest in STEM took off after choosing an Electrical and Computer Engineering major in her freshman year of high school. Since then she has developed several C++ programs, Flash games, participated in multiple programming competitions, and joined FTC Robotics team 4311, Watt the Hex?, winning multiple awards and qualifying for the World Championships in 2012. She has a passion for research, problem solving, and creating - whether it be through art, writing, or programming. Sandra is seeking to double major in Computer Science and Physics in college and to work as a software engineer afterwards. Her ultimate dream is to eventually work at CERN.
Sandra’s initiative is called G.E.A.R. - Girls Exploring Autonomous Robots. It is a three day workshop to introduce middle school girls to robotics building and programming. The program will be taught by Sandra and three other females, though she is recruiting more, at Princeton University over this summer. In order to fund this project, Sandra applied and was awarded a NCWIT Aspire IT grant. Although her initiative has yet to happen, Sandra is all too excited for July to come. The curriculum consists of the girls building and programming robots to solve the First Lego League's 2009 challenge, Smart Move. Instead of just having participants copy code to make their robots move, they will have to think out logical progressions to solve a problem, done so through the use of sensors (example: If sensor A detects this, do that). Sandra and her team are currently working on building a website and brochures so that they may begin advertising their program.
Satvika is a sophomore attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) with a focus on computer science and engineering research. She continues to successfully conduct several experimental research projects and have won state and national awards for these endeavors. Her other interests include participating in Hackathons, playing the violin, writing fantasy fiction and trying to become a "Top Chef". Satvika volunteers as a STEM ambassador, coaching elementary and middle school students in computer science and science competitions. Satvika plans to pursue a career in computer science and applied engineering.
For her initiative, Satvika developed an educational tool, that helped learning sequenced content easily and efficiently by creating an interactive platform that allowed for a hands-on approach to learning sequences. It is a creative, fun, interactive tool that will improve information retention (compared to rote memorization). The objective is to allow any student to recognize and learn the correct sequence of events in any scientific process, be it mathematical, chemical, physical or biological. Some examples of such sequences include Glycolysis, the Kreb's cycle or PEMDAS. Satvika says the design involves putting the jumbled process into a logical sequence, measured against time. The processes are set at different levels of difficulty and advancing to higher levels will prove to be an engaging experience. Satvika believes that her project will help a majority of the student population, from elementary to medical school.
Sonia started planning for her project in Summer 2013 for a launch in Summer 2014. She says there are a lot of logistical hurdles to overcome to get her project done in remote Kasauli in India. But from the excitement at the school, she is confident that the project will have a lasting impact and hopefully raise the ambitions of the girls there. Sonia has been inspired by a similar project done by a team of volunteers in rural Cameroon. So far, Sonia has gotten permission from the school principal, been in discussions with the staff, developed the curriculum, prepared a budget and is now looking at procuring 10 Teaching Sets with a fundraising effort. The she++ program has given Sonia a strong incentive to persevere with her work and take it to completion this summer.
For her #include initiative, Sonia is using the Raspberry Pi as a way to teach programming via Python to underprivileged children in rural North India. The school in remote Kasauli has 600 kids from neighboring villages and many of the girls do not get to study past 8th grade. They are curious and eager to learn coding, and while there are many logistical hurdles to overcome in launching her project, Sonia says the excitement in Kasauli has been tremendous. Sonia has created a blog, prototyped the Pi Teaching Sets and finalized the curriculum in conjunction with the school. She is now fundraising for the Teaching Sets Raspberry Pis, monitors, keyboards, and mice and exploring other efforts in India and Africa.
Trushitha is 20% programmer, 30% artist, 90% gamer, and 32% mathematician; she is from Chicago, Illinois, She loves drawing and painting and tries to challenge herself to create a new piece every day. Perhaps it was because she once taught a German Shepard to bark in Spanish, but Trushitha claims she was Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006. Although she is still in high school, Trushitha is at work creating mobile games for both Android and iOS systems. She loves video games and hergoal in the future is to be the first women CEO of a multimillion dollar video game company. Trushitha loves the combination of computer science and graphics, and hopes to pursue both those interests in the future.
For her outreach, Trushitha worked mainly with a robotics team, and helped out at events such as STEM Day and a robotics workshop for kids interested in computer science and related fields. She also worked with a club at her high school called Tech^2, a club for those who enjoy programming. With a group of girls at Tech^2, Trushitha created games in RPG Maker and Unity. She says her fellow gamers were encouraged to take more computer science classes at her school, and the whole experience was also incredibly fun and rewarding. For her technical sample, Trushitha created an educational game in Unity.
Vicki is a senior at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. Currently, she is a member of Lincoln’s FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team which has advanced to the World Championship tournament. In 2012, she presented her team’s work in sensory technology and stress testing at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference. Recently, she founded the Portland TECH Talk series, bringing students and professionals together to present their work alongside each other. Last summer, she researched using fractal image analysis of MRIs to predict breast cancer chemotherapy success. Vicki also enjoys music and plays first violin in the Portland Youth Philharmonic. In college, she hopes to study computer science and mathematics, focusing on machine learning.
This past year, Vicki worked with her school faculty and administration to help ensure that robotics and computer science opportunities would be available to all students at her high school. She applied for grants with her technology teacher, getting funding for two 3D printers, a new computer lab, and ten robotics kits. At the beginning of this school year, Vicki’s high school offered two levels of computer science classes and a robotics class, enrolling over 200 students in their new technology program. Housing ten FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, Lincoln is now the largest FTC program in the Northwest. Vicki notes that the most important part is that her school’s program doesn’t turn away any students: Lincoln’s technology program focuses on pushing all students towards success.
Vrinda Vasavada is a sophomore at St. Francis High School. She is passionate about the grass-root level applications of science & technology. Serving as the site director for The Tutoring Network, a Stanford-based non-profit, she leads a tutoring program at Bubb Elementary. Vrinda enjoys playing tennis and piano as well as martial arts, oil painting, and photography.
In an attempt to reduce the gender gap in education, Vrinda has been teaching girls in India using a webcam. Since these girls lacked English skills, she initially focused on giving them a working knowledge of English. Then, Vrinda introduced them to computer and social media applications. Through participation in the Hour of Code initiative, Vrinda has given them lessons in logic and basic programming. In the future, Vrinda says she would like to scale this initiative and make it available to more girls around the world.