An Indian-American entrepreneur, Swetha Prabakaran, received White House’s prestigious ‘Champions of Change’ award, reports Indian Express
The 15-year-old, who is founder-CEO of Everybody Code Now!, has been able to empower the community by imparting them with knowledge of Internet coding.
She was among the eleven young women selected by the White House for the award. The White House said:
“Under Swetha’s direction, Everybody Code Now! has taught hundreds of students how to code and has raised thousands of dollars for STEM activities in school”
White House added that her mentorship programmes have transformed shy young girls into confident students, community leaders, and budding technologists.
A junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Swetha said:
“When I took my first Computer Science class in high school, I didn’t think that one day I’d be the one teaching code to kids. I really wanted other girls to have strong mentors and exposure to tech the way I did.”
Swetha Prabhakaran with her father Prabakaran Murugaiah
The non-profit organisation founded by Swetha aims to empower the next generation of youth to become engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs.
She explains that through her organisation, she been able to teach hundreds of kids to code and helped bring more science and engineering activities to schools. So, how did the idea to open Everybody Code Now! stuck her? She explains:
“By 2020, we’ll have more than 1.4 million tech jobs in the US, but girls still hesitate to enter engineering and technology due to stereotypes. Without encouraging more young women to enter programming, we will never be able to fill those positions. It was in that moment that my non-profit organisation was born.”
Swetha’s parents immigrated to the US from Tamil Nadu in 1998. Drawing her inspiration from her mother and her freshman Computer Science teacher, Swetha says being able to see women she admired being respected gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her love for computer science.