“If you don’t like the hand that fate dealt you, fight for a new one!” – Naruto Uzumaki
Meet Chiara Amisola. She has been speaking and representing Developers’ Society at the Philippine EduTECH Conference, received the Youth Excellence in Science Award, FIRST Lego League Grand Award Winner, and published an essay regarding her startup, “Batid,” in an Emerging Technologies and Applications journal. Follow Chiara on Twitter at @Amisoia and check out her blog: blog.chiaski.com.
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m Chiara Amisola, a high school senior at De La Salle Santiago Zobel and an aspiring computer scientist and writer. Language moves me, whether in the form of code or poetry.
Now, I founded a student-run not-for-profit in the Philippines called Developers’ Society that aims to nurture student innovation, educating students about computer science and providing technology opportunities. Since 2016, we’ve grown to stretch across twenty schools and have impacted over 10,000 people with our programs. One of our main initiatives, DevEd, is a collection of student written technology courseware free and accessible by anyone.
Aside from heading Developers’ Society, I also help run Cipher, a women in technology group under Developers’ Society, the national Philippine Robotics Team as an international delegate, speaker, and event co-organizer, work with the international organization YouthHack, and am an ambassador and assistant for various technology organizations and initiatives, ultimately working towards bettering computer science education across the country.
I’ve grown to discover my passion in science communication and empathetic innovation. When I engineer and build, I do it because of the potential in telling stories, connecting communities, and mobilizing citizens. I love seeing how technology and data predict patterns and scenarios, along with helping students return to their creativity and build projects of their dreams.
Fun fact: I’m writing a novella that is currently about 40,000 words long, and my most recent technology projects over the past few months total about half that number in lines of code!
Favorite website / app:
Messenger is an honest blessing and I use it to communicate and disseminate tons of information! Aside from that, I love reading xkcd comics and going through itch.io releases. Brackets is a must-have that I constantly use for web development, while Gitbook has helped a lot with my complex documentation needs.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My friends inspire me. I feel that the unending drive I have would not exist without the environment I was raised in–constants that encourage me to be the ambitiously overenergetic person I am when chasing ideas from startup concepts to hackathon designs; their persistence lets me be determined and moves me to be unafraid. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without the support system that has been built up for me over the past years by a group of endlessly understanding, diverse people.
Song that makes you want to dance:
“Fearless” – Taylor Swift
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
At times, engineering solutions and targeting huge problems can be draining. It feels that things as big as inequality and crime can never be reduced, so what difference would another application or paper in the vastness of society do next? I feel this a lot when pivoting my ideas towards something more social-oriented, such as Developers’ Society, my organization, moving on from pure hackathons to more inclusive educational activities and programs to working on my startup application, Batid. Soon, you realize that everyone else feels the same with their own creations; the world thrives on the ideas and concepts, words whether half-finished or half-undone. I am learning to realize that as futile as it seems, the world is always worth building and engineering for. It is never foolish to work towards something and give your all to something, as hazy as it may be now.
Tell us about something that you’ve built.
My friends and I created a web and mobile application called Batid (Tagalog for “conscious”) on a whim for a startup challenge. We ended up winning with our incident-reporting application that could streamline keywords from different social media platforms, and allowed users to report incidents around their vicinity. Since then, Batid took off not just locally, but internationally as well. It was showcased at one of the Presidential Communications Office Town Hall, has a published speech and essay regarding its advocacy and technologies in an emerging technologies journal, and is awaiting funding and further development before we release an early version this 2018.
What I love about Batid in particular is that it targets a very sensitive yet critical issue in the Philippines, using a tool that most view as a piece that disconnects people to actually unite citizens and communities, continuously encouraging them to be more empathetic, aware, and understanding to the plight and happenings going around and occurring to one another.
Spreading STEM education throughout the world and making it truly accessible for people of all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds is my dream. Growing up, I never realized how privileged I was to be in the Philippines with a childhood grown around a computer when others struggle to receive any sort of education. My time engineering, developing, and creating has made me realize that the world needs more makers, and this is my way of wishing to go about it. Other than working with STEM and CS education, I’d love to be a researcher or software engineer at a company that innovates meaningfully with high-impact potential.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Be unapologetically empathetic and emotional in your life. Whether it is apathy or endless care, let your emotions thrive and nurture your thoughts. They are what move you to create, breathe, and live. Abide by them and never be sorry for the world and what it makes you feel and what that moves you to do.