Amrita Acharya began her tech journey in 2018, when at age 11 she enrolled in and completed Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner, earning a certificate offered by Microsoft on edX. The next year, she went on to earn a Computing in Python I: Fundamentals and Procedural Programming certification from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
That summer, Amrita attended a PC camp at the Kramden Institute in Durham, NC, and it didn’t take long for her to put her new skills to use. She embarked upon a computer refurbishing project that autumn, as part of her 8th grade Career and Technical Education course. Amrita’s CTE teacher praised her work as,”…the best Help Desk I’ve ever seen!”
In 2020, Amrita completed Python for Everybody, a five-course specialization offered by the University of Michigan on Coursera. Amitra is currently enrolled in the Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence Certification offered by Harvard University and has completed CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science and Genomic Data Science specialization offered by Johns Hopkins University. She even developed her own CIRRUS app used in global warming and other climate studies for the 2021 Congressional App Challenge!
Amrita says her interest in the sciences is “partly inherent and partly inherited.” Her father works in IT and her mother in healthcare, and both have inspired her interest in math, computer science, biology, genetics, and chemistry.
Amrita first became involved with TechGirlz during the COVID-19 pandemic, when extracurricular and volunteer opportunities were canceled and she was homebound. One day while online she came across the TechGirlz site. She immediately was struck by TechGirlz’s mission of promoting STEM among middle school girls. “I was excited knowing that I could be involved in at least some online volunteering activities,” she says, “[so] I signed up to volunteer as a teaching assistant for a Python workshop.”
Not only did she enjoy the workshop, but her admiration for TechGirlz also deepened. She cites TechGirlz’ outstanding curriculum, wide variety of workshops, emphasis on emerging technologies, and the coordinated efforts of board and volunteers as the reasons she chose to get involved herself.
“I immediately felt a part of the TechGirlz team,” she says. Amrita wants more girls to discover TechGirlz. “I wish I had known about TechGirlz when I was in middle school,” she says. “I wish all middle school girls were aware of the existence of this free resource and could utilize it to the fullest—which will benefit only us, the girls!” That might be what prompted her to join the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board (TAB) now that she’s in high school.
These days Amrita is working on a research paper titled Breast Cancer Bioinformatics. Looking to the future, Amrita is particularly excited about bioinformatics and genomic data science. “Advancements in medical sciences and technologies have made biomedical data available in huge proportions,” she says. Amrita is eager to do more work with big data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These disciplines allow scientists to analyze data in very large sample sizes and to make informed predictions from what they observe.
Amrita highly recommends TechGirlz’ workshops and camps to middle school girls interested in STEM science. For those who choose TechGirlz, Amrita has a message. “You’ve made the right decision—the experience will be rewarding. It is not only gratifying but learning the opportunities that exist and getting to know the people in the field of science and technology will be helpful later in your career.”