“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.” —Sheryl Sandberg
This year, Ria was named the USA Champion of the Technovation Challenge! The app was recognized by the US Congress with a certificate of recognition and garnered the attention of several Congressmen. She also participated in the American Computer Science League (ACSL) Competition this May, where her team represented the United States and became an international winner. Since then, several media outlets and newspapers have recognized Ria for her work to bridge the gender gap in technology.
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m Ria Doshi, a sophomore at Monta Vista High school. I’m passionate about bringing computer science to as many communities as possible as well as using technology to help my community. As someone who is passionate about the impact of computer science, I was inspired by the special education community at my school to create Alleviate, an app to help people with autism overcome the challenges they face in their daily lives. Along with two other girls at my school, we submitted Alleviate to the 2018 Technovation Challenge and out of 19,000 girls, became the 2018 United States Champions!
My inspiration to pursue technology stemmed from an online course I took in seventh grade. Fascinated with what I learned, I dove into the world of computer science and taught myself languages like Java, Python, Swift, and more.
However, as a female who loves programming, the lack of diversity hit close to home. Very few girls I knew were actually doing computer science, and those who were, weren’t very interested in it at all.
Motivated to inspire other kids into technology, I teach kids how to code apps and how to program in languages like Java and Python through workshops I created. So far, I have been able to teach approximately 350 elementary, middle, and high schoolers how to code, which has been super amazing!
Besides programming, I love public speaking, reading, and playing the piano.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
One of my favorite websites would probably be Stack Overflow because it provides such a great environment to learn new programming languages and ask any questions you may have! Fun fact: I taught myself to make apps in Swift just using Stack Overflow 🙂 I also love websites such as this one that empower women in STEM.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Through the workshops I teach, I meet a variety of students. However, the most rewarding and inspiring moments as a mentor has been to see girls try computer science for the very first time, regardless of the obstacles in front of them, become passionate about it, and learn more. The female computer science community is growing every day, and each and every member of this community never fails to inspire me and keeps me motivated to bring STEM to communities just like mine.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
One of the biggest challenges I face as a woman passionate about technology is the lack of diversity. My school’s computer science club had over forty participants, yet I was the only female member. Not having other girls who shared my passion for computer science was sometimes disheartening.
Computer science is growing to play a significant role in our everyday lives, and it is essential that we tap into the immense talent of the female community. I hope to show girls that being a “geek” isn’t something to be ashamed of; instead, it’s something to be embraced.
My ideal job would be working as the CEO of my own tech company, one that helps the community and impacts millions of people.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Keep pursuing your dreams! Find something you are passionate about and learn as much as you can about it. Remember that when you put your mind to something, there’s no stopping how much you can accomplish.