Interview with Malavika Vivek by Talya Slezak
How this High Schooler is Bridging the Gender Gap in Tech
1. What was the inspiration for starting your organization?
As an eight grader, I made the decision to go to a STEM focused high school after discovering my passion for technology. One of the things that really pushed me to go to this school was the prospect of finding a community of girls who were passionate about the same things I loved that I could go with to tech competitions and conferences. However, I soon found that a lot of my female peers viewed tech as an unwelcoming field and were disinterested in attending events that they thought would be male-dominated. This led to me asking the question: where is the community? Girls Make Apps was created after my cofounder (also a high school woman in tech) and I discussed how creating free accessible programs would work to create a positive first experience in tech for girls while building a more inclusive culture in the industry.
2. How has the program been beneficial to you or other girls involved?
The program has been really beneficial and just a huge learning experience for me. When we started in 2016, I had no idea of what response to expect from our middle school participants. In our first camp, an eight-week program that combine android app development and social impact, I was blown away by the creativity and brilliance of these middle school girls. They have really taught me that anyone can make change happen if they are passionate about it. Girls Make Apps has really benefited these girls too by giving them an opportunity to discover their passion for tech. We really hope that girls from our camps leave inspired and knowing that they are capable of anything.
3. Why would you encourage young girls to become interested in science, math or technology?
Science, math and technology are more than just the future; they are fields with so many opportunities for success. At Girls Make Apps, we strive to show girls the many facets of technology and how it can be applied to virtually any field, from fashion to cinema. There is a really a world of possibilities in STEM and it is the perfect route for young girls to further their natural curiosity and create an impact on the world around them.
4. How can girls become involved?
Girls can become involved through any of the great, free resources available on the internet today. Using websites like Code.org and Made With Code, anyone can start learning how to code in just a few hours. Participating in the computer science classes offered at your school or joining an after school tech club are all great ways to start learning as well. Lastly, find out more about Girls Make Apps events in your area or donate to our cause at girlsmakeapps.org.
Submitted by our members as well as teens across the world.