Learning loops, logic, and user interfaces at First Code was exciting and presented three beginnings for me: it was the first time I learned about developing mobile apps, which is a significant part of my work now; it was the first time I was one of the youngest people in the room, a role to which I’ve since become accustomed; and it was the first time I was one of very few girls, if not the only girl, in the room, another role I’ve since gotten very used to.
My interest in coding and eventually computer science continued to expand. I took online classes in HTML/CSS and learned Java with books about object-oriented language, encapsulation, and methods. In sixth grade, my family moved to New York, and I found the Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship challenge for girls. I participated with a friend of mine from school and we made it all the way to the finals in San Francisco, where we won second place globally. The challenge was the first time I was in a room full of girls who were all passionate about using technology for good. I started to see technology not just as blocks of code or an animated whack-a-mole game, but as a strength, tool, and platform for a middle-school girl who wanted to change something (maybe even the world).