Podcast Host, Student, Daughter & Athlete | The Ins & Outs of Making Change in the World

Girls in STEM Mentor jan Choudhury

by | 19 Jun, 2023 | STEM Untapped

I’ve always hated Computer Science and Education. I mean, being a student in a super competitive school as a 5th grader definitely had its disadvantages. Whenever school was out for “Staff Learning Day,” I’d always tag along with my Dad in his workplace. He’s a Software Engineer/Cloud Architect and would always try to push my sister and I into STEM because we were in the booming Silicon Valley! Looking at all the similar cubicles and the same computers didn’t appeal to me and the 9-5 working hours made me gag. 

Fast forward to the summer of my 6th grade when we were all quarantined, my family and I moved to another district that wasn’t that competitive. Here in this school, nobody cared about education or STEM for that matter—and that was a bit of a culture shock to me, because although I wasn’t fond of the subjects, I still had an appreciation for the fields because we were in the SIlicon Valley! This summer was specifically notable for me because after telling my Dad that I wasn’t interested in Computer Science, he suggested I try the cheesy “Hour of Code” programs and although I was hesitant and didn’t want to waste a precious hour of my time, I decided to complete it for the sake of my father. But, although I was initially hesitant and thought I’d hate coding in JavaScript, I was actually really interested in what I was doing. I loved how I could move my code around and see the visual fruits of my labor be outputted onto the screen. I remember how I finished the whole Hour of Code program and actually applied for a course on HTML and CSS, and lo and behold, out of something I hated, I actually enjoyed coding–something I thought I wouldn’t ever do in my life!

This is something that I’ve applied in my life as a student—whenever I hate something, I fake it until I truly enjoy what I’m doing. Before, I used to hate school, but now that I’ve faked an appreciation for learning, I’ve actually enjoyed what I’ve been doing in and out of the classroom!

After being completely engrossed in Computer Science, STEM, and Education, I started noticing that my female friends hated these fields too, and although I put in a bit of appreciation into the fields, they weren’t having it. So, during the summer of my 6th grade, I started interviewing brilliant female professionals to connect them as role models to my friends. After hearing the stories of people who’ve actually done it, my friends were encouraged into being more proactive with their education and seeing them become more encouraged with what they were doing in school, I decided to scale this project of mine and create a platform as a podcast channel to bridge the gender gap in STEM called Aarna’s News. What I thought started off as a passion for connecting my friends to role models in the fields of STEM escalated into a project of mine that I’ve been working towards every day for the past 3 years! 

Now that I’m a freshman in high school (9th grader), I’ve had a greater appreciation for connecting with people regardless of their professional occupation, making lasting memories, and working on the things that I actually enjoy. As a varsity field hockey athlete and varsity track & field thrower, president of a club at my school (SWE–Girls Can Code) where I encourage my female peers to pursue the Computer Science classes in our school after seeing staggering statistics of little-to-no girls taking those classes, and running my own podcast channel to bridge the gender gap in STEM, I feel like the biggest myth for creating real change, not only in my community, but internationally, is that you can’t do that much as a young person. WRONG! (In red!) Regardless of your age and where you are in life, if you’re committed to what you want to make a change about, you can! With the new era of Gen-Z, we are an upcoming age of innovators, change-makers, and advocates all interested in making the place we live in a little bit better. So, regardless of whatever you want to do, maybe write a research publication or invest in stocks and bonds, don’t discount what you can do based on your age or ability. Because, if I can build these passions of mine and integrate them into the real world, I’m 1000% you can do too. Cheers, and do feel free to connect with me on Instagram or Linkedin! I’m happy to chat with you for advice/tips from interviewing over 40+ female professionals in the niches of STEM & Leadership! 🙂

Resources to check out what I’m interested in:

Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/5yiVPdZIo5lsmZhxf2m6lK

Website (old one): aarnasahu6.wixsite.com/aarnasahu

Website (new one, under construction): https://aarnasahu6.wixsite.com/my-site

Instagram: @aarnasahu6

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aarna-sahu-1136671b2/

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Written by Aarna Sahu

Podcast host of Aarnas News, Entrepeneur & 9th Grader