A 10th Grader's Mission to Recruit More Girls to Learn About Computer Coding

Code with LiliaContributed by Lilia

I’m a 10th grade student in Bryn Mawr, PA. I have always been interested in math, science, and technology. In general, I’m excited about learning, one day I hope to combine my varied experiences and come up with something original that’ll help better our world.  

Outside of school, I’m on a mission to recruit more girls to learn about computer coding. I developed the website to provide coding workshops and connect with as many girls as possible. I’m hoping that my enthusiastic point of view and personal experiences will help shed light on the value of computer science. I want a world where girls are given the tools and education they need to help build a computer science community for everyone.  

You may wonder how I have been able to take on a project like at a relatively young age. First and foremost, I love and believe in what I’m doing. I’m passionate about computer science and want to share my enthusiasm with as many girls as possible. I’m also motivated and willing to work hard. I’ve learned about hard work living in a home with a father who runs his own business. His work ethic and drive are infectious because he does it with such enthusiasm. He has always taught me to be brave, and that problems that seem insurmountable are merely intellectual challenges to overcome with thoughtfulness and patience. At home, I’m never handed answers but always asked questions in which my responses are given a great deal of respect. I’m truly lucky that I don’t have to look any farther than my own home to find exceptional mentorship.  

Sing StardomHaving professional guidance and support is also important to making successful. I have learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength. When you are able to reach out and recruit people to help you build a movement or business you hone your communication skills and appreciate people’s kindness and generosity. I learned this very significant concept from my mentor Ellen Fisher. When I was in sixth grade I joined an afterschool business program by Ellen called The Young Entrepreneurs Academy. We learned to coordinate market research, write our own business/nonprofit plans and even pitch them to a panel of investors at the end of the yearlong class. The Investor Panel event is just like Shark Tank but with a large theatre audience. I was 12 years old and pitching my idea (Sing Your Way to Stardom), financial projections, and even a budget.    

It was the first time the program, which was founded in 2004 by the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, was offered in the Philadelphia area. The Greater Philadelphia Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs spearheaded the chapter under the leadership of Ellen Fisher. I have viewed Ellen as a mentor since the day I met her at my interview/class application. I was a young girl at my first interview and Ellen conducted the interview in a professional and yet supportive manner. When students walk into her classroom they are motivated with a “can do” attitude and are respected as professionals. Ellen’s ability to ask for help from the community, recruit many business people to donate their time and money to help us was what made the program so special. Each student has a professional from the community help them with their business plan. We visited companies and had professional guest lecturers speak in our classroom. Every step of the way Ellen was able to recruit people to donate their time to help young students flourish. I am now on the student advisory board for The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, so I’ve been able to see Ellen grow the program and I still look to her for support. Although I didn’t continue with the business plan from 2004, I have used the invaluable skills I learned to build starts with you

Like Ellen, I love helping people and seeing how much they light up when they know someone else truly cares. A few years ago, I volunteered at a school for kids with autism and am now a lower school tutor and it’s very gratifying. Being the only girl, or one of just a few, in my computer coding classes and other STEM activities I have taken gave me the idea to start I think females need to be represented in all areas of academia and industry. Computer development is a crucial growth area and I want to help increase the female representation. Ellen and my family taught me “girls can code too” and I want to help spread the word.

The Mission of is to introduce students and especially Girls to the Importance of Coding. This program is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science—anybody can learn the basics.