On March 8, OC Science and OC Coder jointly hosted “Computer Science and Engineering for Girls” in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event was designed to promote STEM amongst young girls. The guest speaker was Mrs. Prasanthi Sathyaprakash, an inspiring woman who has been actively involved in STEM for the past 20 years.
Many girls attended, showing great enthusiasm for STEM. They were eager to hear about Ms. Sathyaprakash’s journey in STEM, which started from a young age. As a child, Prasanthi lived in India with her family. During childhood, she loved playing with Legos that her grandmother brought from America. But when she asked her parents to buy her more Legos, her father sadly said, “Legos are not made in India.” Her parents could not get her Legos because India did not have engineers that made Legos. Ten years later, Prasanthi faced a similar problem. Her high school had the first computer in the whole town. Mesmerized by the computer, she begged her parents to buy her one too, but again, her dad answered, "Computers are not made in India; we don't have anyone that makes them." Fortunately, this was only a small obstacle for Ms. Sathyaprakash. She soon became inspired to study to be an engineer.
Ms. Sathyaprakash realized that she had to be the change she wished to see in the world. She decided that she had to be the one making things for India--things like Legos and computers. To fulfill her goal, she realized that she had to go to an engineering school. Although her community belittled her ambitious spirit and criticized her for being senseless, especially since she was a young woman, Prasanthi persisted. In her heart, she firmly knew that her efforts would not be wasted. Following her bachelor education in mechanical engineering, she decided to go to the United States to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to start her masters program in industrial engineering.
Today, she is actively involved in STEM education through her work with Broadcom Foundation and its prestigious middle-school research competition, Broadcom MASTERS. She also serves on the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) Board of Directors as Co-President. She also travels to give many inspiring talks in order to promote STEM careers among today's youth.
Following Mrs. Prasanthi’s powerful story, many girls confidently announced that they will pursue STEM in their careers. This event was very successful and was a wonderful way to commemorate International Women’s Day of 2015.