As a black, disabled female, I understand the barriers and struggles firsthand when it comes to pursuing computer science. I grew up in a financially unstable household, which resulted in me having little access to technology. When I finally got into a free computer science program after constant applications and rejections, I was able to pursue computer science. I worked part-time as a coding teacher at a private center, and I often had parents express their interest but the inability to afford courses for their child. Before working as a computer science teacher, I conducted research in the artificial intelligence field pertaining to algorithmic bias. To summarize my research, a racially diverse computer science field could mitigate problems caused by algorithmic biases such as the ones found in facial recognition software. I realized that if the problems I and many others faced were not addressed, the computer science field would never increase in diversity, resulting in the continuation of algorithmic bias, which creates real-world problems for minorities, particularly people of color. This is why I founded a nonprofit organization, Avi I.T. Inc., where our mission is to “Establish a foundation for computer science education among all backgrounds and experiences, in order to mitigate the diversity gap in the computer science field and alleviate the digital divide.”
I plan to become a computer science educator and advocate with my degree. I enjoy working with my current students and having the opportunity to introduce people to computer science. The reactions and excitement of people of all ages when they first see a drone or a robot never gets old. Everyone should have access to computer science education, and I want to make that a reality.
I have several disabilities, including temporomandibular joint disorder and visual impairment. At times, I struggle to complete homework or teach a class due to being in immense physical pain. I often take naps to try and get rid of the pain, which usually leaves me with less time to complete things. As a result, I have to work around how my body feels and schedule tasks in advance. Being visually impaired, I struggle to see the board in class and to look at others' device screens (since my devices are set to be enlarged). I have poor depth perception, so putting together robots and repairing technology - both things I often do - become a bit challenging, but magnets are a great help!
While in high school, you can begin to study different realms of computing by using free resources on the internet, such as YouTube. There are many apps and websites that help you start coding, and you can even create full projects with the help of tutorials. You could begin tinkering with hardware and reverse engineering software; however, always be safe and mindful.
Studying computing creates many opportunities. Technology is very prevalent today, so understanding it and the ability to make things with it is powerful. While studying computing, you’re able to get a firm grasp on the fundamentals of computers, which changes the way you see the technology in the world around you. Computer science is such an interesting field, one that I find could never get boring.