“As technology changes the way our world operates, tech companies will have more influence on our lives — it’s important that women are part of that equation.”- Karlie Kloss
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Elysha Ang and I am from Little Falls, New Jersey. I am currently 18 years old and am a student at Pace University in New York City. Here, I am a part of the Seidenberg School Of Computer Sciences and am pursuing a BA in Computer Science with a minor in Web Media and Computer Information Technology. I started coding late in the game but, I wouldn’t consider myself a newbie in the tech world. I have always had an interest in technology and started coding around 16. Though, I really learned the “ins and outs” when I turned 17 and received the Kode With Klossy STEM scholarship.
This was a two week coding scholarship that would immensely change my life forever. At this camp I learned the basics of a coding language called Ruby. We were taught how to build web applications and the basics of code. I found my love for code at this camp, and I was given the great opportunity to spend this past summer with that program once again. After camp, I was so inspired that I got my high school involved. I was able to help to build the STEM program. The STEM program, that I aided to construct, now consists of two new AP courses (AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles), plus a new maker space where students are welcomed to explore the many possibilities STEM has to offer! During my senior year, I also took on two computer courses (AP Computer Science A and Computer Programming Honors).
A fun fact about myself would be that, along with being newly immersed within the tech world during my senior year of high school, I was also varsity cheering captain, Vice President of my senior class, and leader of the Girls’ Athletic Association.
What # would define your life journey?
#TheFutureIsFemale is a phrase I live by. It is both catchy and true, in regards to my goals in life and for my future.
Favorite website / app:
My favorite pass time is using social media to escape from reality. One of my favorite apps is Twitter. Twitter is such a great mobile application because of the connections and opportunities it offers. It gives you the chance to connect with people from all around the world with similar likes or dislikes. I also enjoy the restraint of 140 characters to each tweet. It gives you just enough space to get your point across without writing a novel, it is ideal and practical. Also one of the newer tech tools that really spark my interest is VR (virtual reality). This summer, I got to learn someone VR and A-frame. I had the opportunity to create my own VR game and was amazed by the outcome.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Someone who inspires me greatly is Hillary Clinton. She is one of my many female inspirations who I look towards and aspire to be like. Her confidence is unshakable and her role, as a woman in government, is necessary and encouraging. One of my favorite quotes from Clinton is, “Women’s rights, are human rights”. As a young feminist, I feel as if this is a statement we should all live by. It is not only the truth but something that needs to be practiced. This past election, I was inspired by her persistence, fight, and demeanor. Through the thick and the thin, she remained confident about who she was, her beliefs, and truly inspired me as a female going into the tech industry. Much like government, the tech industry is heavily male populated. I look towards Hillary Clinton as a female figure who gives me the confidence and determination to be the best I could possibly.
Song that makes you want to dance:
My favorite artist, since I was 10 years old, is Katy Perry. Her song “Firework” means a lot to me. Being a “Firework” means you are special and yu are important. Katy Perry is an artist who has inspired me for many years. She is not afraid to speak her voice and just be who she truly is. I hope one day to be as confident and poised as her.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I was a senior, I was very active within my high school. I was captain of the varsity cheerleading team, Vice President of the graduating class, leader of the Girl’s Athletic Association, member of the honor society, and a part of several clubs (Future Engineers of America, Student Senate, etc). Along with my extracurriculars, I was also in two computer classes, AP Computer Science A and Computer Programming Honors. In both these classes, I struggled with the fact that I was the only female student. A challenge that I faced was my male peers thinking less of me because of my gender. A lot of the time during the year, I was instructed to wear my cheerleading uniform to school. I would be seen as “stupid” or “incapable” because of what I wore and the activities I participated in. Though I persisted though all of this because I truly love computer science and coding and really cared about what I was learning. We would also have weekly coding competitions in class, where we’d make small projects and compete to see who had the best one, and I won every single one the entire year. So what I took away from this is who I am asa women in tech and who I want to be. I want to be someone who inspires others and a female figure other young women interested in STEM so look towards. On of my favorite quotes comes from Evelyne Brochu who said, “Women are half of history they are half of humanity they’re part of intimate stories And greater ones.” and I plan be part of history.
I aspire to become a Web Developer where I can continue to explore my love of code and even dabble in some of my other interests like social media. One of the things I hope to do in the future is educate the youth, especially young girls (because of the lack of women in STEM studies/majors). Surprisingly, not even my peers in HS were familiar with STEM of coding so I’d like to shed the that knowledge amongst the youth to get them a head start. To explore STEM studies and take advantage of all the awesome opportunities that are available for youths interested in technology!
What are your future plans?
I plan to continue my education here at the Seidenberg school in Pace University and graduate with a BA in Computer Science. During my four years here, I want to become more active within the STEM community. Either by working with children interested in STEM or interning for a social media platform, I want to the most during my time in college in preparation for after graduation.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
As a young woman in the twenty first century, I am aware of the kind of world we live in today. How we are still fighting for our rights, when the strong women in the 60’s thought gender inequality would have been only an issue of the past and be almost nonexistent in 2017. My story ties back to when I was younger. I remember being a young girl, around ten or twelve, wearing shorts in public and being catcalled by men two times my own age. I was embarrassed and I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I began wearing clothes that draped over my body and covered each inch of me, I was afraid to wear anything too revealing. It was not until I met my english teacher, my junior year of high school, that I become more confident and really began my journey as a young feminist. My english teacher is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to women’s empowerment. She taught my class, of all girls, that we are special and that we deserve to have the same rights as men do. She was such a passionate person, who cared deeply about women and women’s rights and it rubbed off on me greatly. I am a huge advocate of women’s rights, I believe there is nothing a man can do and a woman can not.
Women are unique in a way that they have the drive and determination to do anything they set their minds to, they are fighters but also lovers and they are gentle yet strong. I am so incredibly proud to be a young feminist and woman in the crazy world we live in today because I hope what I am fighting for makes gender inequality only a mere idea of the past for the young women of the future. There are many issues that concern me when is comes to gender inequality and women’s issues. Though, a few that immediately pop into my mind are the pay gap and the glass ceiling, as well as violence against women. Being a young woman going into a male dominant major, I can only expect my career route to be just as male dominant and competitive. I have heard in many cases where incredibly talented women get recruited to work on startups but are not paid for their labor, while a man asked to work on the same project would get paid for their time. Though I have four years of schooling ahead of me and a lot to learn still, I want to be able to consume a lot and be the best at what I do. I want to become a strong female tech leader for other women in my field. Violence against women is also a very important topic. Women are still being verbally, mentally, and physically abused just because they are seen as “easy targets’ or “weak”, though they are the complete opposite. While women are strong but there also has to be a change in our society. It has to change how men think it is okay to touch women they hardly know, catcall them on the streets, or take advantage of them. Women should not have to put with that kind of harassment but they do, almost everyday and on different levels of severity. And what concerns me the most is that as time goes on and on, the world gets scarier and more dangerous. So, it is more important than ever for women to know what to do in situations like that and be the confident, strong women they are by holding their heads high and not allowing things like that to define them or feel degraded. And a common misconception about feminism, I wanted to elaborate on, is that it is all about the women. Though, my take on the word feminism is that it is the equality of both men and women. I wanted to elaborate on my responses in case I may have been perceived wrong. I am a strong advocate of women’s rights and believe that women are as strong and powerful as men, but that does not mean that I hate the male race. Looking back at the Women’s March, I remember being surrounded by not only women but also men. Men marched with us women, all night long, fighting for our rights. Feminism is not a nasty word, and it is still perceived that way, but a word that means equal opportunity and equality for all.