My TechGirlz Journey by Mia Melischuk

My TechGirlz journey started many years ago, about a year after my journey in tech started. When I was in 5th grade, my brother had just gotten the coolest-looking birthday present I had ever seen: a program that taught him to code his own mods and addon packs for Minecraft. I had seen many videos featuring mods, so he (begrudgingly) let me use his computer and start creating my own mods. A few months later, after the subscription expired, we started coding in my computer science class. Around the same time, my math teacher had just gotten these microchips for the class, which we could plug into the computer and code designs for. Ever since, I have loved coding and have been experimenting with different languages and programs like Scratch and Kano.

Portrait of Mia smiling

In sixth grade, my mother told me that there was this workshop with TechGirlz. I forgot exactly what the topic was, but she told me that there would only be girls around my age there and that I could learn new things about coding and technology, so I was all for it. After the first workshop, I got hooked and started going to as many of them as I reasonably could fit into my hectic schedule. As I was bouncing around between libraries and conference rooms and any other venues that were available to use for these workshops (the Microsoft store in the mall was my favorite). I learned about so many things, ranging from JavaScript to podcasting to encryption. I dreaded the day when I would be in high school, because that day would mean I was too old to attend TechGirlz workshops. Even through the pandemic, I still went to a few virtual workshops that I hadn’t already been to, trying to absorb as much knowledge before that day came.

Last summer, before high school officially started, I learned about the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board, or TAB. An experience that would allow me to continue learning with TechGirlz and still attend workshops, but this time, as an instructor. In TAB, I have the unique opportunity to teach the next generation of middle school girls the same things I learned when I sat in the libraries, or conference rooms, or Microsoft stores. I can interact with the girls and teach them about tech, while learning from them at the same time. I can write about my journey and help make lesson plans. I can meet other girls my age who are true leaders in their communities, and I can take inspiration from them to get up and help shape the next generation of women in tech.

Would you like to learn how to get connected with other teen girls who love tech? Visit our website and explore the various opportunities we offer.