Blog Post

Girl Who Codes

As seniors across the country are working hard on college applications, we are showcasing college application essays by iMentor students. 

In her college application essay, Janet, a student at Lionel Wilson Prep in Oakland, Calif., shares how she discovered a love for coding. She is now a first-year student at UCLA.

One day, as I Google searched, I accidentally pressed “inspect.” What appeared were several letters and numbers arranged together in lines. A later search taught me that these symbols were the foundation for all apps and websites. I was fascinated with this other side of technology I never knew existed.

From busted Chromebooks to lack of technology instructors, I never had exposure to coding in high school. Because of my school's limited resources due to forced funding cuts on student activities, I decided to take it upon myself to sign up for Codecademy, to see if I enjoyed learning to code.

While I was coding, I discovered that I appreciated the freedom I had to design a myriad of things. I felt attachment to my coding projects. I took initiative and searched for summer programs where I could meet other individuals who were also interested in coding.

Janet with her mentor, Melody

I came across Girls Who Code, a program that strives to involve young girls in technology. For seven weeks at Twitter headquarters, I learned different coding languages and built strong relationships with other young women. Through this program, I improved my public speaking and social skills, and strengthened my ability to succeed as a woman in tech.

Coding led me to an internship this summer at OSIsoft. OSIsoft specializes in simplifying and displaying user data. Being the only Latina and student from Oakland, I had to learn to adapt to a new environment and not let my differences interfere with my learning. While I was at OSIsoft, I got exposure to life at a tech company, and collaborated with a team to build a Raspberry PI powered smart monitor that displays different modules, relaying data from OSIsoft's PI system.

I have been able to adapt to new environments whilst learning how to manage my time efficiently around multiple deadlines. I have always wanted to explore all of my academic interests and not allow my school's limited resources to prevent me from further learning. Now, I know that despite having disadvantages because of my background, I can learn anything and achieve my goals.