UC PIQ: Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program was a pivotal experience in my education. At no cost, I was selected to study computer science for 7 weeks amongst highly motivated females like myself.

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Each day I was grouped with new girls to collaborate on projects and form new friendships. We explored the coding languages of HTML, CSS, Arduino C, and Python (my favorite). I learned to code my own website, program robots to sing the latest pop songs, and create games that my peers could interact with! My curiosity drove me to ask many questions as I was eager to perfect my code.

In the last two weeks of the program, my team of three girls developed the most difficult project of the class. We built a mobile app with a tracking device to identify the location of one’s valuables. A scrum board was used to prioritize and assign specific tasks to each person. I was in charge of designing the app’s interface, embedding Google Maps, and encoding the tracker’s GPS and Bluetooth data into the app. At times, these tasks felt nearly impossible with continuous errors in my code. However, after doing immense online research and testing several different approaches, I was able to create the functioning features within our app. On graduation day, my team stood on a USC stage and pitched our project to an audience of peers and professionals. Our efforts spent coding in two different languages and long nights overcoming technical hurdles had culminated in this moment of pride.

The process of developing our tracking app taught me to take risks. I learned to accept that sometimes the best option is just to scrap my work and begin anew. I’ve become more patient and persistent in my coding projects, academics, and art practice because of this experience. Girls Who Code strengthened my ability to transform ideas into reality and inspired my future career path. 

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