“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi, I’m Shuba! I’m a coding enthusiast, advocate for closing the gender gap in tech, proud Gen Z-er, proponent of dreaming big, and a junior at Parsippany High School. I’m the founder of STEMFuture, an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to equip all youth with essential STEM skills and show them how innovation in STEM is being used to create social impact and change the world. I was also a co-organizer of ByteHacks 2018, an all-women 24 hour NYC hackathon that encourages women of all ages and skillsets to form teams and create tech projects that have positive social impact.
Fun fact: TED/TEDx talks have given me so much inspiration, and I love watching them. My favorite one is “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by Sir Ken Robinson.
Favorite website / app:
Spotify, The New York Times, Medium
What # would define your life journey?
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Someone who inspires me is Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of Girl Scouts USA. I have had the pleasure of watching her speak at some events, meeting her in person, and telling her about STEMFuture, my organization. Ms. Acevedo has taught me that the most effective way to approach a tough situation is with refreshing optimism and positivity. Also, I absolutely love one of her sayings – “Don’t walk away until you get a ‘no’ three times” (where it’s applicable, of course). I love the inherent tenacity that following this saying will build in you.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I entered high school, I immediately saw that society sought to define my peers and me in the most asinine way: by our grades, test scores, GPAs, class ranks, and other rigid measures of success. The worst part is I got caught up in it. For a while, I didn’t really know how to define success for myself. So for a few months, I pursued the only definition of success that I knew – I had to get good grades, great test scores, and aim to attend a top college, or else I would never be successful.
I would come to realize how utterly incorrect those thoughts were. The months leading up to said revelation consisted of pain, boredom, and wondering “there has to be another way to spend my high school years” every single day. I think at one point I got tired of waiting for some miraculous change to happen, and I decided that I would create the change that I needed in my own life. So I began to unapologetically pursue my interests. Thus, my love for computer science (CS) – which I had discovered in the seventh grade – deepened. On top of independently learning new CS skills and concepts, I decided that I wanted to share my love for this field. I was now spending my time doing fulfilling activities that made me genuinely happy – from learning about cutting-edge technology like big data to teaching CS workshops to youth in my community.
Looking back, I realized that by creating such change in my life, I had began a journey toward further developing my interest in technology which would result in it becoming a passion. I am eternally grateful for the challenges that I faced upon entering high school as it has helped me define my path into one that I am excited to pursue.
My ideal job as of now is founding a startup that uses technology to combat climate change. However, I know that I as a grow and learn more about myself over the next few years, this goal may change. What I do know for sure is that I want to combine cutting-edge technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, and social impact in what I do.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Find purpose in what you do – and write it down. There will be days during the journey to achieving your goal – whether that goal is mastering a new programming language or starting your own company or whatever else you are working towards – that it feels almost impossible. You will most likely face rejection, failure, and you may ask yourself if the goal is worth it. It is during times like these when revisiting your written purpose will remind you why you do what you do. Personally, this gives me strength and motivation to pursue my goals.
Shuba Prasadh is a nationally recognized champion for broadening participation in computing. She is a New Jersey Affiliate Award Winner of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing and an AspireIT Grant Awardee. Shuba received the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award and served as a conference ambassador for Bit by Bit – Women’s Tech Conference.
Follow the STEMFuture Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stemfuture.org/