By Gabriella Schwarz '22 and Kaili Mikami '22
As part of our Explorations of Data Science class along with the AP CS-A class, we traveled to San Francisco for the Women of Silicon Valley event. The event was full of women in STEM who shared their personal stories about how they became involved in the tech field. We first heard from Ms. Adonica Shaw who led us through a workshop on app creation. We all went through a process where we identified an issue, brainstormed solutions, recognized if technology was necessary to solve the solution, and then prototyped its design on paper. As students, we created many different app ideas from pet matching, to closet organization/outfit building, to meal planning, to language translators over FaceTime.
The second session was a presentation by 14-year-old Samaira Mehta, founder and CEO of CoderBunnyz who is from the Bay Area. We heard about her experiences in the field, her failures and her successes. She shared her love of coding which began at a very young age and her goals to make coding accessible to young women everywhere.
We then travelled to one of the larger conference rooms where we had the opportunity to talk to many major tech companies in Silicon Valley. We heard about their businesses, their missions and their internship opportunities. It was wonderful to hear from the representatives of the company as they shared their personal journeys and the opportunities available in tech which are much broader than just engineering. We also got lots of company swag!!
Lastly we heard from Radhika Krishanan (chief product officer at Hitachi Vantara), Regina Lawless (MSOD, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Meta), and Suzanna Khatchatrian (director of data engineering at Slack) who are all deeply passionate about their roles in the tech industry. Each woman shared her story with us, the zig and zag of career paths that they encountered, and the most important lessons they learned throughout their schooling and professional careers. We were left with the positive message that we can be the change that we wish to see in the world. Both Kaili and I plan to get involved in the tech industry and the field trip was a great experience that we hope other students will be able to experience in the future!