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On Sunday, March 8th, 2015, OC Science and OC Coder jointly hosted Computer Science and Engineering for Girls, featuring Ms. Sathyaprakash, an experienced woman in the semiconductor industry and Co-President for the Board of Directors in the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair.

Over 75 girls from elementary school to high school attended this event at the Northwood facility. Ms. Sathyprakash explained her journey to becoming an engineer growing up in India. She loved the Lego set she received as a child but when she wanted to purchase specific Lego pieces to complete her creations, she could not no matter how hard she pleaded with her parents since Legos were not “Made in India.” Ms. Sathyprakash made it her life goal to make Legos available in India. As a teenager, her dream of becoming an engineer manifested when she asked her parents to buy her a computer, but unfortunately computers were also not “Made in India.”

Along the way, Ms. Sathyprakash encountered social barriers of becoming a woman engineer, especially a mechanical engineer where there are very few girls. Many friends and neighbors were skeptical and frowned upon her choice, but nonetheless, she pursued her goal. Her father encouraged her, saying that if she really wanted to become an engineer, it would happen. Despite the opposition, Ms. Sathyprakash is a very successful woman today in the field of science and a role model for young girls of the new generation. Though 74% of high school girls show interest in STEM related fields, only 30% of employees in the computer science and engineering fields are women. She asked the girls to enthusiastically agree to change those statistics!

Offering a practical way to get involved in STEM, OC Science introduced their Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational and Junior Engineering Olympaid during the Orange County Science and Engineering Week, an initiative they are seeking signatures to pass with a petition. OC Coder, a student-run programming organization presented its volunteer services and an upcoming student-run hackathon respectively.

Overall, the presentation was a huge success, inspiring many young girls to pursue STEM fields with Ms. Sathyprakash’s testimony and example.

Written by Matthew Tang, Northwood High School, Class of 2018