Written by volunteer Alison Perch
What was it that you wanted to do when you were six years old? That was a question posed to Wilhem Arthur Alcivar by his high school English teacher. At the time, Wilhem was on track to become a business major, because that’s what others encouraged him to do. Wilhem reflected on the question and remembered his childhood fascination with the internet and dream of becoming an engineer.
At that point, Wilhem says, “I completely dropped any idea other than that I was going to be a computer scientist.”
That singular focus and drive led to a career in tech. Wilhem works on back-end web technology, designing and implementing RESTful web APIs. He got his start in robotics, but quickly moved into web engineering.
Now, Wilhem is giving back by inspiring the next generation of tech leaders. He’s a volunteer instructor for TechGirlz and has led several TechShopz. He has taught “You Can Code!” — an introductory class — and he also wrote and taught “Git/Github,” in conjunction with Kelsey Huse. Wilhem first got involved with TechGirlz in 2016, around September.
“TechGirlz came and did a talk at a coworking space I used to work in. Instantly, I knew I wanted to support them and what they do. About a year after that, I decided to finally reach out and volunteer my time as an instructor,” he says.
Wilhem recognizes the importance of technology instruction, particularly for young people. “I’m supporting TechGirlz because it is the type of thing I wish I had when I was young. We are increasingly living in a world controlled more and more by tech and fewer people who actually understand tech,” he explains.
He also points to the gender gap in tech and the need for organizations like TechGirlz. According to Wilhem, “there are too many workplaces in the tech space that still have either no women, or one woman for every 15 men.”
For anyone considering a volunteer role with TechGirlz, Wilhem encourages them to jump right in. “Leading a class is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. Seeing just how smart these girls are and helping to push them to learn new things just brings this kind of joy that is hard to explain,” he says.
Today, Wilhem still views technology with a sense of childlike wonder. In his spare time, he works on “various weird apps and projects,” contributes to open source tech, and is interested in designing voice integrated smart technology.
Years after that life-changing conversation with his English teacher, Wilhem is now a mentor himself. “TechGirlz has been one of the best things I’ve gotten involved with. Teaching can be difficult, but at the end of it, you get this feeling like you’ve just helped a person grow. The time I’ve given has been invaluable,” he says.
For more information about becoming a TechGirlz volunteer, visit our Volunteer page.