Minnila, TechGirls 2022, USA
For as long as I can remember, I have been fond of STEM. Whenever someone would ask me, “Minnila, what do you want to be when you grow up?”, my answer was always, “a doctor”. My interest in STEM was immeasurable because STEM subjects just made sense. There was always a clear answer and a method to find it. So, I would often spend my free time learning random STEM facts and medical terms. I also had an interest in technology, and there was even a phase in my life where I would watch phone repair videos and take apart various old electronics to see what was inside (although I wasn’t always able to put them back together). This interest in technology led me to develop a passion for programming. I was hesitant to start, but I’m glad I did because I discovered I had a knack for it.
In the summer of 2021, whilst avidly searching for medicine-related summer programs to apply to, I came upon the TechGirls program. I decided to apply because of my significant leadership experience and interest in computer science. I didn’t get my hopes up, since the program had a few thousand applicants, but I was over the moon when I was accepted. During the program, I met so many new people, had new experiences, learned about various cultures, and made lifelong friendships. I also learned an important lesson — my capability to make a change in my community is far more significant than I thought.
This allowed me to create Code Created Easy, an organization aiming to teach students in my community how to code in Python and Java. During the nine years I attended public school in my hometown, I noticed that many students had absolutely no idea what they wanted to pursue in college. So, for my TechGirls community action project, I decided to change that. Through my organization, I first held a Python crash course in order to figure out the most effective teaching method. I received amazing feedback and attendees loved how I taught Python in a way that was easy to follow and understand. Utilizing my feedback, I created a structured curriculum to teach Python and Java, which I will be teaching this summer.
I am so incredibly thankful to the other TechGirls as I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without them. They taught me to be confident, to believe in myself, and to become an active member of my community. I was able to figure out my passion and capabilities, become an effective leader, and use my skills to better help myself and countless others.