“I find it really helpful to embrace a stereotype and then put my own spin on it. I’ll admit I’m a huge “nerd”, but I also don’t view that as being a negative thing. I love coding and Star Wars, but I’m also a fashion blogger who loves to scrapbook and wants to learn how to surf.” ~Kaylee Llewellyn
We’re ending Teacher Appreciation Week with Kaylee Llewellyn, a fashion blogger, avid scrapbooker, Star Wars buff and a teacher who codes. In our Q&A with Kaylee, we learned about how she deals with stereotypes and her outlook on failure. We’re definitely going to take a leaf out of her book next time we fail!
Q&A with Kaylee:
Which of your recently used emojis represents you perfectly?
What’s your favorite piece of technology?
What made you join the Girls Who Code movement?
I love being a programmer and my biggest regret was that I was not able to get involved in coding earlier in my academic career. I was really excited to have the opportunity to get to share my enthusiasm for programming with other girls and help de-stigmatize women in tech for girls who are curious about getting involved with coding.
What was the hardest part of learning to code?
At first, I found it challenging to be very creative and logical simultaneously when coding. Programming forces you to think outside the box about how you’re going to solve a problem while also keeping you within the bounds of whichever programming language you are using. It took me a while to learn how to break down large problems into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Is coding creative?
I find coding extremely creative. Coding essentially sets up a task for what needs to be accomplished through a program and as the coder you’re given endless possibilities of implementing a solution.
Did you ever encounter people who stereotyped you because you code? How did you overcome that?
YES. As a half-Korean female programmer, a lot of people would chalk up my being a programmer to me being Asian. I make sure to emphasize the reasons why I personally love being a programmer and also make my interests outside of computer science known. Personally, I find it really helpful to embrace a stereotype and then put my own spin on it. I’ll admit I’m a huge “nerd”, but I also don’t view that as being a negative thing. I love coding and Star Wars, but I’m also a fashion blogger who loves to scrapbook and wants to learn how to surf. There’s always more to someone than a stereotype and I think it’s most helpful to flip those stereotypes on their heads to combat this negative attitude towards women programmers.
How has coding made you feel more confident?
I love knowing that I can solve just about any problem I want to. Coding teaches you great problem solving skills and that’s a skill that most people lack. It is great knowing that if I put my mind to something, I can solve any problem I want.
Tell us about a time you overcame failure.
I still remember the first time I’d ever failed a test. It was in AP Chemistry, and on the first test I scored a whopping 38%. My stomach dropped when my teacher handed back my test and tears came to my eyes. I thought there was something wrong with me because I’d walked out thinking that I had done well. After talking to my teacher though, I quickly realized that I many simple errors combined with his strict no partial credit policy had led to my low grade. The most important thing that I learned was that failures are just a part of succeeding. On the next test I rebounded very well. Overcoming failures is difficult because once they are in the past they cannot be changed. It is good to think of them as learning experiences rather than indicators of talent or self-worth.
What do you say to the girl that thinks that coding is not for her?
I’d say don’t give up! There are a wide variety of coding applications, maybe you just haven’t found the one for you.
Who is your role model?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from your mom?
Be brave and don’t be afraid of taking a leap of faith.
How does code tie to your other passions?
I’m a huge fashion blogger - which is a cool way to tie technology into my passion for fashion.
Interested in being a teacher for Girls Who Code?
“I was at a conference and I asked the cofounders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege, for a selfie. I thought, “Why not? Go for it!’” - Maya Miller
Meet Maya Miller, a junior in high school from the Bay Area. Self-described as a “Fearless Fashionista,” Maya stumbled upon Computer Science while on a flight. She’s now fearlessly merging her love of fashion with technology and hopes to start the next or .
Read more about Maya and her fashionista icons in our Q&A.
Q&A with Maya Miller:
How did you become fearless?
I’m not a shy person, but I’ve always been a bit doubtful in my abilities. During the , we had to code an mp3 player. When I realized that I could use code to make something I use every day, it made me braver.
Why did you decide to join our movement of Girls Who Code?
I was on a flight from San Francisco to Chicago and met a Twitter engineer. I asked him what “being an engineer” was. I live in the Bay Area so I knew about technology but hadn’t ever tried Computer Science. The engineer told me about and encouraged me to apply. I HAD to check it out!
I’m good at math and science in school but Girls Who Code made me step out of my comfort zone and dive into Computer Science. It gave me more adrenaline than any other activity!
Do you want to keep studying Computer Science?
I’m definitely going to study Computer Science in college. I never would have done that before Girls Who Code. After college, I would love to create a fashion-based tech company.
Why should girls learn Computer Science?
I want ALL minorities to get into coding. There are so many possibilities for innovation if other minorities code.
How does coding tie to your passions?
For our final project, my partner and I made a website called Style X. It’s where you can exchange style and clothing with other fashionistas.
Who are you fashionista role models?
Well, Rihanna, Zendaya, and Kim Kardashian are all really fearless with their fashion. Rihanna is definitely at the top of my list because she is willing to try anything! She can make anything look good, which not many people can do. I think it is her confidence that allows her to pull of crazy outfits and make them look high fashion and immaculate.
Also, Michelle Peluso, the Chief Strategic Advisor of , an online fashion website, is a pioneer in bridging the gap between fashion and technology, by combing them into a lucrative business. Natalie Massenet of has accomplished amazing things in the world of fashion and technology. As I want to have my own fashion technology company, it’s inspiring to look at these two women and know fashion and technology do mesh well together and can have a huge impact on not only the fashion world, but also the technology world.
Are you interested in learning how to code?
“To become great at anything, you need to always push yourself no matter what happens or what anyone says.” - Nyah Gilmore-Logan
Happy Monday! We’re starting off our week off with Nyah Gilmore-Logan! This 18 year-old from Chicago, Illinois is a creator. Always, dressed in bright colors or plaid, she’s passionate about cooking, fashion, hair-dressing AND code. While one might not think those things tie together, Nyah vows to make the world function better by integrating her passions into technology.
Q&A with Nyah Gilmore-Logan:
What interested you in Girls Who Code?
I like trying new things and had a predisposed love of technology. I knew that learning to code would give me a broader view on not only the STEM field, but the world.
How has learning to code given you a broader view of the world?
Code helps the world function better! There are so many things that are made with code: from medical equipment to animation to vehicle design. Code also helps people in need like the elderly, disabled or sick. It improves our basic everyday life. Thanks to code we now have Google maps rather than having to refer to physical maps that were dangerous to read while driving.
What was the hardest part of learning to code?
The hardest part of learning how to code is figuring out what you may have done wrong. Code always has to be accurate and won’t work if it’s off.
Has learning to be wrong given you more confidence?
Yes, actually. I believe I can do anything I want to now, from building robots that are socially intelligent and communicate with others to building a simple website.
I kept making mistakes when I was learning to animate in Flipnote Studio. It became really tedious to keep getting it wrong and I nearly gave up. However, to become great at anything, you need to always push yourself no matter what happens or what anyone says.
We hope to see your animation work someday?
I plan to start my own company like Pixar one day!
That’s awesome! Does coding tie to any other passions you have?
Absolutely. I love doing hair but am just a beginner. I want to learn how to dye hair and do extensions. It would be cool to use coding to create an app to help people create their own hair styles and predict trends.