Author: Ben Williamson 

A Technical Polyglot

Ashlyn’s Story: ChickTech Participant and Coding Wonder

A photo of Ashlyn sitting in a field in California.
Ashlyn has participated in numerous ChickTech programs throughout her high school education. She now dreams of working in tech!

In today’s society, technology influences and molds nearly everything around us. Given its massive importance to our survival and prosperity, shouldn’t women have an equal say? ChickTech’s mission is to help transform the male-dominated tech industry by providing the necessary tools and skills to young girls and women who are interested in the field. Through creating diverse, open, and creative spaces in ChickTech’s camps and programs, the brilliant minds of these girls can run free; and the energy and ideas that emerge are endless and inspiring. 

Ashlyn, a participant in numerous ChickTech workshops (and a self-identified Slytherin!) is a fantastic example of how an empowering support system, paired with great individual strength and work ethic can lead to countless possibilities. Ashlyn is a hispanic high school student from Southern California, and she is incredibly passionate about technology, particularly coding and Artificial Intelligence systems. Her first formative experience with tech was a robotics class in third grade: “When I got to try out my robot and see how it drove forward or went backwards, seeing how I could program something to do that was pretty exciting and amazing,” she remarked in her interview with ChickTech. 

Ashlyn and her family sitting together in a field.
Ashlyn (right, back) and her family.

Since then, she has been building her coding skills with Java, Python, and beyond. According to Ashlyn, “a lot of programming languages, when you get the basics, you can move on to different ones because they’re all sort of similar with the same logic and loops.” Ashlyn’s mother, Dina, connects her coding proficiency with her education in a trilingual immersion school and her fluency in Chinese, Spanish, and English: “From early on, she’s been learning different languages. They say the more languages you learned as a kid, makes it much easier to pick up additional languages like coding.” Her competence with that many languages in addition to coding is truly amazing! 

Ashlyn, 2nd Grade Robotics

Ashlyn is no stranger to the gender divisions in tech: “the robotics class I was in… I think I was the only girl among like fifteen boys!” Through ChickTech, she was able to learn with other girls her age. “It was cool to meet other girls that wanted to go in the same area,” said Ashlyn.

The support and validation that the girls get from each other is irreplaceable, and Ashlyn has carried that energy with her through mentoring other girl coders, and constantly expanding her knowledge in Artificial Intelligence. 

So what does the future hold for Ashlyn? At the moment, she plans on majoring in computer science with an emphasis on Natural Language Processing, and her dream career is working on AI systems like Siri for Apple™. But we have no doubt that whatever she does, she will have a huge impact in the tech world, and will be a great inspiration for other young girls.