Lilia Becker, a 10th grade student at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA is on a mission to introduce more girls to computer coding! Lilia is bringing introductory coding workshops into classrooms and after school programs in order to bring forth the issue that females currently only make up 25% of the Computer Science workforce. Computing occupations are the fastest-growing, best paying, and the largest sector of all new wages in the US and she wants women's' ideas to be included.
Carnegie STEM Girls Interview with Lilia
When did you become interested in coding? I first became interested in coding while taking a computer class at my school when I was in the 6th grade.We learned how to use Scratch and I thought is was creative and fun. From there I started looking into more advanced applications and found Java.
Was there a particular person or event that influences your love of coding? I went to a one week summer camp called ID Tech when I was going into the 7th grade, and all of the teachers were enthusiastic college students who made learning fun. They were a great influence because they were relatively young so I felt more of a connection with them. Around that time I got to watch the movie Facebook and parts of that story and his [Mark Zuckerberg] success intrigued me.
What made you interested in teaching others, especially girls, how to code? I love helping people and seeing how much they light up when they know someone else truly cares. A few years ago I volunteered at a school for kids with autism, and I am now a lower school tutor at my school and it makes me so happy doing these things. Being the only girl, or one of just a few, in my computer coding classes and other STEM activities I have taken outside my school has been awkward at times. I think females need to be represented in all areas of academia and industry. Computer development is a crucial growth area and I want to help increase the female representation.
What do you aspire to be in the future? I have lots of interests and still formulating my plans. That said, I thought I wanted to go into computer science but I have fallen in love with chemistry this year. So, perhaps I will try and do something that merges the two fields. In a perfect world, I would love to use my interest in chemistry to solve a problem that improves the health of the world’s population and leverage my interest/skills in technology to better deliver the solution to all people.
Who are your role-models? My dad, because he has found solutions to problems others couldn’t and made a difference in the lives of those around him. My mom, because her pursuit of art has exposed me to my creative side, and my brother, because he found his passion early in life.
What do you like to do in your free time? I have been working on www.CodewithLilia.org in my free time. I’m also in the process of launching a non-profit for high school seniors to help with the transition to college. In addition, like to play tennis, read books, and create games and websites on my computer.
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