“My parents always say I can’t go without my phone and I always answer back with yes I can. One day I thought to myself, can I?” ~Leslie Landis
Meet Leslie Landis, a 16 year-old from New York City who has a popcorn addiction, counts YouTube and Project Runway as her guilty pleasures and as an experiment to see how much her life depended on technology. After her cell phone fast, Leslie wants to use her coding ability to educate the world about global issues.
Read more about Leslie in our Q&A.
Q&A with Leslie Landis:
What does the Girls Who Code movement mean to you?
Before Girls Who Code, I never saw myself as a coder or an engineer. gave me not just valuable coding skills but a valuable opportunity: to see myself in a whole new way. Now, I see myself as someone who can take on a big industry regardless of the gender gap. I am a more able, confident, and ambitious girl with big dreams and I want to share that with everyone around the world.
What was your dream job growing up? What’s your dream job now?
Growing up, I wanted to be on Project Runway and start my own fashion empire. I loved Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn so much and i still watch that show!
Now, I want to be the CEO of my own social media empire.
Why do you want to be a CEO?
I love being a leader and helping people get to their end goal. In group projects, I like guiding people through every step.
Why did you apply to the Summer Immersion Program?
I thought that coding would be a very helpful life skill, especially since I want to start my own company.
Did you always like computers?
Growing up, computers were just for doing my homework. I wasn’t really that interested in computers until I realized that there was a whole industry around it.
Do people ever stereotype you for being a girl who codes?
When I tell my friends that I like to code, I’m put in a “STEM” bubble. I’m so much more than that, though. I’m a writer, a reader and I love art. I’m not just the girl who codes.
What was the hardest part of learning to code?
It’s making sure not to second guess my talent. I’ve had to learn to trust myself.
Why do you think it’s important to teach girls computer science?
I think that computer science has been unfairly labeled as a boy’s job just because it falls under a STEM category and not a Humanities category. It’s the 21st century, but girls and are still growing up in a world where they’re told that they cant go into STEM or they’re not naturally good at math and science. Teaching girls computer science is the first step to breaking these labels of what boys are good at and what girls are good at.
How has coding made you feel more confident?
In school, when I’m intimidated about a new project or subject, I think back to when I first learned to code and how intimidated I felt. Everyone starts off as a beginner.
Do you think coding is creative?
People assume that STEM is very strict and computational but it’s actually really creative. You have to think outside the box and be creative in the way that you problem solve.
What problems do you want to solve with code?
I like the impact that social media has on people because news spreads faster and people are more easily informed about global topics and issues.
With that being said, will you ever give up your phone again?
IT WAS SOOO HARD but I learned a lot about how reliant I am on my phone and technology in general. I’m not sure if I’d choose to do it again.
Interested in learning how to code?