Watch the We Day broadcast, August 21, 2015, 8:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM CT on ABC. Join host Selena Gomez, YouthSpark Star Abril Vela, and a star-studded lineup of inspirational young change-makers, chart-topping performers and iconic celebrities in the greatest celebration of social change America has ever seen.
I’m extremely grateful and excited to be a part of the first We Day in Illinois and the first national broadcast of We Day.
My onstage moment at the event was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Not only did I get to talk to thousands of students about how anyone can learn to code and the work that I’ve done to help young women in my community get involved with technology, but I also got to interact with Selena Gomez on stage and even teach her how to code!
On stage at We Day, Selena Gomez and YouthSpark Star Abril Vela talk about how anyone can learn how to code.
We Day is an event for students to help inspire them to make a difference in the world through volunteering and becoming active in our local and global communities. The movement is sweeping across the nation and my goal at the event was to help students understand how technology can help them achieve more with their projects. I think it is important for every young person to get involved with coding, whether learning a new skill or thinking about career opportunities.
I started programming in high school when I enrolled in an introduction to java and media computation course. My computer science teacher then encouraged me to get involved with computing programs outside of the classroom, one of which was the DigiGirlz program offered by Microsoft.
DigiGirlz, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, gives high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. It provides girls with a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about, and it completely changed my perspective on technology – sparking my interest in a path in engineering.
After DigiGirlz I continued to stay involved with technology by continuing to take classes in computer science, joining robotics teams, and becoming very active in the women in technology movement. I went on to found the organization Chicago Girls in Computing to work with high school girls in the Chicagoland area who were interested technology – learn more about it in my segment during the We Day special on ABC!
It’s always a great time to start learning how to code. If you want to see what some of the awesome things are that you can do with code, Microsoft has great resources. Visit the YouthSpark Hub to learn more about their programs and resources for students. One of my favorites to get started with coding is TouchDevelop, check it out!