We live in an era of opportunities, options, and possibilities. While as technologists, we focus on the fast-paced technological growth, it’s also essential for us to prepare the next generation for the future.

“If your actions inspires others to do more, others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

Growing up, there were so many ways segregation shaped me, but it was the education and support from people around that liberated me. It is this feeling of liberation and support that I aspire to share with and inspire the next generation.

0*IFV5ZpZztqtU1InCAs an engineer and advocate for gender equality, I recognize the importance of motivating young girls about STEM and igniting their imaginations. Given the recent ascent of the #metoo movement and the stats of women in tech, it is more critical than ever to help young girls believe in themselves. It is this vision that prompted me to invest my time in mentoring middle school girls at the San Francisco Community School Technovation program and help them with the development of an app called “Allevi8 — Keep Going”.

These girls had a passion and vision to develop an app that would address the ugly truth of depression in young kids. The app they developed would help teenagers identify and differentiate early signs of depression and save them from falling into the deep dark spiral of depression, one step at a time. While it was heart wrenching to see these young girls concerned about such a grave issue at this young age, it gave me hope and drove me to help prepare them for the future.

 

Their app was impressive and earned a spot on channel 5 news:

However, the point here isn’t just about how great their app is but also to help them gain a positive perspective and pursue a career in tech. One of the teachers at the school, who organized weekly classes and helped bring all this together, Nolan Irene said “before Technovation, none of the girls were really interested in Computer Science, nor had role models in Tech.” As a mentor, I helped these girls get a glimpse into a world where women could do amazing thing.

For past three months, I would meet these girls every week and would talk about how amazing my job is. My stories from work gave them a glimpse into a world where women could do amazing things, and this got them excited for a career in tech. I am extremely grateful for my team at Kittyhawk for supporting me through this.

It was when these girls said I was the reason for them to keep going, I found my bliss!

However, hearing about the cool drones and actually experiencing them are two different things. So, my team and I decided to organize a fly day for the girls. They got to fly the drones and see the world from an aerial perspective in the Kittyhawk app. By mentoring at the school, I tried and make coding cool for these girls but was still abstract. Experiencing a Fly day made code real for them, and real can mean achievable, shifting their perspective about a career in tech.

sonal baid

sonal baid

sonal baid