“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! My name is Archika Dogra and I am a Co-Founder of the EduSTEM Initiative along with my awesome friends Maya and Evelyn. We decided to start EduSTEM because we felt that for all of the STEM camps, classes, and workshops we attended, we had always felt out of place and frankly, isolated. My love for STEM came from taking audited online courses in middle school and high school, which really opened my eyes to how I felt oddly more comfortable with learning programming on my own rather than in a collaborative environment. It didn’t take long to figure out why! As a woman in STEM, asking questions, contributing ideas, and participating in group projects often put me in an uncomfortable, insecure, and subordinate position in relation to my male peers. At my own learning pace and with limitless resources at hand, online learning gave me the comfort and security I needed to find my passion in a field I previously found incredibly intimidating.
Despite these hardships coupled with my academic timidness, I fell in love with programming anything from small games to machine learning models, whether it be in my room or at universities such as Stanford. This inspired me to start EduSTEM because I wanted to create an inclusive environment that embraces diversity for all youth in STEM. In just one year, EduSTEM’s workshops, events, and curriculum can be seen across 4 nationwide chapters and has impacted over 200 students.
Ever since I started EduSTEM and began taking more initiative in my CS related research, I have transformed into a much more confident and capable individual. I’m proud to see my love for STEM flourish, and I want to let other minorities know that they have the power to change the world with technology as well!
Fun Fact: On weekends you can either find me at debate tournaments, coding in my room, or exploring the Pacific Northwest with my family!
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
My favorite website is definitely stackoverflow.com. I don’t know what I would do without it!
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
This is a question you have to answer a lot on different essays and interviews, but honestly I don’t think I can ever narrow down my inspiration to one person. The entire community and cumulative effort of women in STEM is just so incredibly inspiring and diverse that you can’t pinpoint a single individual as someone you look up to. I am inspired by all the girls who dip their toes into programming for the first time despite being told that it’s not for them, all the women who are in executive positions making decisions that impact people across the country and world, all the females in labs working tirelessly every day to get one step closer to finding medical solutions, and literally every hardworking individual out there. There isn’t one person who can encapsulate all of the diverse successes within the community of women in STEM, as #girlpower is a journey that we all take together, hand in hand.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
The largest challenge that has defined my path can be encapsulated by one phrase- stepping out of your comfort zone. In middle school, I was definitely better at Social Studies and English classes than Math or Science. To be frank, I didn’t have a natural talent for STEM related areas at first. From an early age, we associate what our long-term ambitions should be with what we’re good at, and while that is a reasonable way to look at your interests realistically, I’m glad that I didn’t confine my opportunities to the scope of that mindset. I started learning programming and science through free online courses over the summer and found that as I came back to school, my foundations in Math and Science started increasing as well.
Personally, I found it challenging that I was passionate about something that didn’t come to me as naturally as others, but I found through this process that if you’re really enthusiastic about something, you shouldn’t let self-doubt stop you from trying it!
I’m definitely fascinated by startups. My dream job would look like working for an artificial intelligence startup in the heart of Silicon Valley, delving into new ideas and challenges every day.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Your biggest competition is yourself. Don’t let anyone else’s attitude, accomplishments, or achievements get to your head. You are in the driver’s seat of your own successes, and nobody can take that away from you!