Ah, summertime, when high schoolers work on autonomous cargo-delivery or search-and-rescue systems for the Navy, right? Okay, maybe just if you’re this Student of the Month.
At 16, Courtney helps lead ProjectCSGIRLS, the largest computer science competition for middle school girls in the country and co-founded a startup that connects underserved high schoolers with tech mentors. In her spare time, she’s putting her school’s Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science curriculum onto codecademy so her peers can get instant feedback on assignments. Pretty cool!
Tell us more about your startup, Magikstra.
I co-founded Magikstra with a fellow National Winner of the NCWIT’s Aspirations in Computing Award, Ananya. We found it difficult to connect with mentors throughout our high school years and know that underserved communities benefit enormously from the kind of mentorship we both received through NCIWT. There was no dedicated platform for this so that’s what we’re working on.
What’s next for you?
I’m really interested in the development of reusable rockets. There’s a huge computer science effort going into these sorts of projects and I’m convinced automation is the future. Autonomous systems are, in large part, demonstrably safer than manned ones.
Why should more girls learn computer science?
I think tech should be representative of its users. It’s as simple as that. If we’re not actually representing user culture, we’re not actually meeting the needs of humanity.
Any tips for other girls?
You don’t have to be fantastic at math. You don’t have to be in love with data structures and algorithms. You don’t have to sit behind a computer and code all day. You don’t have to do any of these — and other stereotypical stuff — if you don’t want to. Computer science is a tool. It might be the most valuable tool you ever have. Apply it to the things you love.
We’re sharing this story as part of our new Student of the Week series. Kids in cities and towns around the world who are changing the face of computer science. Do you teach a rockstar student? Nominate them to be a Code.org Student of the Week.