Volunteer Spotlight: Alekhya Buragadda

In the third grade, Alekhya Buragadda learned her first coding language, JavaScript. That one step was the first in a rewarding journey. She used her JavaScript training to help her build games like Angry Birds and Dino Run. From that moment, she knew she was hooked on tech.

After completing the course, she became a Certified Game Developer (while still in junior high!). By her freshman year of highschool, Alekhya had learned her second coding language, Python, through a course offered at her school. Next, she set her sights on website-building and taught herself HTML/CSS so she could achieve the aesthetic she wanted in her builds. But she’s far from done. She hopes to study artificial intelligence (AI) in greater detail, because she believes AI will unlock a new world of scientific advances.

Alekhya found TechGirlz while searching for virtual volunteering opportunities during the pandemic. Her first experience was as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the workshop, Mapping for Humanity. “One major thing that surprised me about volunteering with TechGirlz is how engaged the girls are during the workshops,” she said. “I have volunteered in numerous tutoring organizations, and in several, there was little to no participation by the students.” Alekhya believes that TechGirlz’ approach is unique because it allows students time to practice the skills they’ve learned. She later returned as an instructor for the same workshop!

She wishes that more people knew how easy it is to volunteer as a TA or instructor. “When you are initially signing up to volunteer,” she said, “the team is very welcoming and ensures that you are comfortable.” She’s also quick to praise the TechGirlz slide decks in helping her pace the workshop, which she found helpful, first as a TA and later as an instructor.

Alekhya recommends TechGirlz to anyone seeking to volunteer. “I personally believe that volunteering with TechGirlz from an early point in my tech career gave me a head start.” By volunteering with TechGirlz,  she believes, one opens up to a whole new network of like-minded people who are supportive of each other. “If you are looking to pursue a field in tech,” she says,  “volunteering with TechGirlz is a huge gateway to more knowledge and opportunities.”

Most of all,  she believes in the TechGirlz mission—to offer girls a pathway to careers in the STEM sciences and technology. That’s why she joined TAB, the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board. “I know the importance of education,” she says, “and it should be accessible to everyone.”

These days, Alekhya is hard at work on her new project, Women Welfare – helping women trapped in abusive households to develop the financial literacy required to become free and independent. She knows there’s so much more that can be done. And technology is the answer.”