What the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board Did on Their Summer Vacations

Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman

The leaders of the future have had a busy summer and before that, an even busier school year. We caught up with members of the 2018-2019 TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board (TAB) to find out what they’ve been up to. They also shared insights into their experience serving on the TAB and how it inspired them to pursue other leadership opportunities.

Each of them had something exciting to share. Take a peek at what tomorrow’s technologists were up to recently.

Nicole headshot
Nicole Xiang
Lilia Headshot
Lilia Becker
Lauren headshot
Lauren Phillips
Paige Burns
Paige Burns
TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board Member, Dhivya
Dhivya Arasappan
Lucy headshot
Lucy Minchoff
Lindsey headshot
Lindsey Davis

Nicole Xiang

Nicole Xiang experienced a lot of growth during the past year and over the summer, thanks to her involvement with TechGirlz. She describes this year as the “most important” one during her TechGirlz journey, noting that she’s challenged herself on many levels.

During the year, Nicole’s involvement with TechGirlz grew from serving as a TA during workshops to leading workshops and finally to working with the TechGirlz’s curriculum team to develop her own workshop on 3D modeling. The workshop finally launched after four months of preparation and planning.

Over the summer, Nicole kept up her involvement with the TAB and spent a day volunteering at the Girls Take Charge camp. She then got the opportunity to study a subject that fascinates her, reproductive science, by working in a lab at Penn. There, she studied infertility in mice. She worked alongside a mentor to discover if two testis-specific proteins interacted and contributed to the subfertility of male mice.

Lilia Becker

Lilia Becker at a techshop
After a busy year with TechGirlz, Lilia landed an exciting internship with the Bioinformatics lab in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The project she worked on involved taking the phenotypic data of patients with birth defects and representing the findings mathematically.

Lilia’s role was to write Python code that converts the data into vectors for quantitative analysis. She compiled data from more than 5,000 patients and sorted through more than 100,000 keys for different disease types. She also helped with data analysis by using Python to create graphs.

The team’s findings will be published and presented during the American Society for Human Genetics conference in October.

Along with her internship at CHOP, Lilia dedicated a considerable amount of time to Techgirlz. She TAed and then taught Tinkercad workshops, writing up a blog post about her experience. She also assisted during Solving Genetic Mysteries, Designing Mobile Apps, and 3D Design Clara.io workshops and volunteered at the Franklin Institute table and the Tech Exploration Day table.

Lauren Phillips

Lauren Phillips at techshop
Lauren Phillips had a busy, travel-filled summer. She went up to Cornell University in Ithaca to attend CURIE Academy, a camp for girls. While at the camp, Lauren studied tendons in an attempt to discover effective ways to repair them using gel scaffolding. She says that the camp was “extremely fun” and gave her a glimpse into what college might be like.

In addition to the camp, Lauren TAed a 3D Computer Graphics and Animation with Clara.io workshop and Designing Mobile Apps, both in June. She also helped out at Girls Take Charge. The rest of the summer saw her traveling to California, Florida, and Georgia. An athlete, Lauren went to two field hockey camps and ran in the Junior Olympics.

Lauren is grateful to have had “an amazing year with TechGirlz! I have honestly learned a lot from volunteering and teaching, and I’m glad I’ve discovered something new that I really enjoy doing. I look forward to new experiences at hand and to help the program expand in the future”

Paige Burns

Paige event

Paige spent the year spreading the joy of TechGirlz around Colorado. She assisted at two workshops in Denver: “Designing Mobile Apps” and “A Day in the Life of a Web Designer.” She also taught three workshops on her own: “YOU Can Code,” “How Engineers Solve Problems Using 3D Printing and TinkerCAD,” and “Intro to Javascript.” She was one of two TAB members to create content for the TechGirlz instagram, including posts about influential women in tech (past and present) for “Thinker Thursday” and daily posts during Women’s History Month.

Over the summer, Paige ran a one-week Arduino programming camp at the Innovation Center of St. Vrain in Longmont, CO for 20 girls. She got funding for the camp from the AspireIT program at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). During the program, the girls learned how to build and code an Arduino robot. They also developed teamwork and presentation skills and got to hear women from local tech companies talk about their jobs and experience working in technology.

Dhivya Arasappan

Dhivya at a techshop
Dhivya Arasappan spent the month of July at the Governor’s School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, a competitive academic program that receives over 500 applications per year.

Before attending Governor’s School, Dhivya was a teaching assistant during the record-breaking HTML/CSS workshop at Drexel University. She also helped out at the TechGirlz table during the Philadelphia Science Festival. For part of the year, she was the webmaster for TechGirlz’s website.

Even with all that going on, she still found time to teach several workshops, including two Models & Molecules workshops in February and August, and the Developing Mobile Apps workshop during the Girls Take Charge camp.

Lucy Minchoff

Lucy Minchoff spent part of her summer at the HOBY World Leadership Congress, a weekend-long conference designed to empower young people to become future leaders. Lucy also spent part of the summer volunteering with TechGirlz, leading three Designing Mobile Apps workshops and volunteering at Girls Take Charge. She lent a hand during the Game Design Workshop and Models & Molecules.

Lucy’s school year was also jam-packed with TechGirlz events and other opportunities to learn and grow. She helped out during the Philly Science Festival and Girls Exploring Tech Together (GETT), was an emcee for the codebreakers event, and lent a hand during the Rehabilitation Robotics workshop at Penn.

Lindsey Davis

Lucy MinchoffLindsey Davis split her summer between volunteering at Girls Take Charge and interning in the Alumni Office at the Shipley School. During Girls Take Charge, she was a Junior Counselor. Describing the experience, she says that she “enjoyed sharing my story and experiences with [the campers] in hopes that they will in turn share their story and connect with others.” Lindsey had the chance to see the girls she worked with grow as leaders and learners during the camp.

Along with serving as a Junior Counselor during Girls Take Charge, Lindsey also volunteered with TechGirlz throughout the past year. She helped out at three Designing Mobile Apps workshops and two Infographics workshops. Lindsay also emceed the CodeBreakers event at Drexel University and assisted at the Philly Science Festival at The Franklin Institute. She’s spent so much time on the topics that she now feels like an expert in those workshops.

In her role as an intern at the Alumni Office at the Shipley School, Lindsey has worn many hats and got a chance to learn more about Alumni involvement and engagement. She’s focusing on finding ways for the school to better reach graduated students and increase connections with them. Lindsey’s really enjoyed her internship and plans on continuing in the role during the school year.

Are you a teen looking for a chance to change the world? Join the Teen Advisory Board today!