I’ve loved technology all my life. Whether it was the way a computer screen reacted to a user’s movements or Bluetooth controlling my TV remote, I have always been captivated by the way hardware and software affect our everyday lives.
I can still remember when I took my middle school’s conjoined engineering and coding program. We worked with Apple’s Swift platform to solve puzzles using functions, loops and Booleans.
When I was a part of this class, however, I had a stark realization — I was the only African American girl. Despite the fact that computer science affects all of us, there is limited representation of certain groups like women and minorities which can perpetuate harmful biases in artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
With ChatGPT officially being out for a full year, my interest in technology continues to grow. I’ve been able to join many female-based STEM organizations that have helped me take steps to bridge the gender gap in computer science, with SWENext being one of them.
As a current SWENext advisory board member, I have been able to work towards my goal of bridging the AI gap with an amazing group of national influencers. Together, we help lead the SWENext High School Leadership Academy sessions and teach girls across the U.S. about different engineering fields. I’ve taught members about the fields of software and AI engineering. I am extremely grateful to be a part of an empowering community at the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and I’m excited to create a world where AI can encompass all of us.
Additionally, with my background as a global youth leader for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up program, I help lead 200,000 girls worldwide where I have a similar focus on using technology for social good. As co-host of the Girl Up podcast called HerVoice, I’ve been lucky to interview and speak to incredible women within the fields of technology, sustainability and the business industry.
Through other organizations like Kode With Klossy, where I am currently serving as an ambassador for this year’s tenure, I have been able to connect with passionate girls around the world (spanning from the UK to Egypt) to grow a tight-knit community within the realm of computer science. By listening to their stories, I have realized I am not alone in my computer science journey.
As the co-founder of Closing the Gap for Her, I carry the perspectives I have received from the national and international councils I’ve been a part of, like Girls Inc. and the National Girls Collaborative Project, to address the educational disparity in STEM and business. Through my startup, I have provided countless educational resources for female students who plan to pursue male-dominated fields.
My work has been recognized by the RevolutionHer Awards and the Women In Tech Global Awards. I believe that change cannot be achieved without education, and I am taking steps to ensure that every woman and girl has equal access to educational opportunities to help them pursue their goals.
I am truly grateful for SWENext for jump-starting my journey into STEM equity and providing me with a platform to learn and grow. I’m excited to step into the next chapter of my life as a high school senior who plans to pursue a dual degree in business and computer science in college. Carrying my community-oriented mind and stories with me, I plan to impact the people around me to use technology in positive ways.