Nithya Krishnamurthy is a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy and has a passion for clinical medicine and medical research, education, and computing. During her freshman year, she started a Girls Who Code club at her school, aiming to promote women in STEM and foster interest in Computer Science. This later expanded into an all girls FTC robotics team, called the Ravenettes. She also interned with the Scripps Translational Science institute where she researched noninvasive cancer biomarkers and the rising field of digital health. She is the founder of a nonprofit called Caring for Cancer, which aims to provide gas cards and care packages to newly diagnosed cancer patients. You can find out more about her and her foundation at caringforcancerpatients.weebly.com.
How did you first become involved with coding and technology?
I first became involved with coding the summer after 8th grade, when I attended a Microsoft DigiGirlz conference and was fascinated by the myriad of applications for computer science. My freshman year, I started a Girls Who Code club at my high school, Canyon Crest Academy, and we have expanded to form an all-girls Robotics team. I really enjoyed applying the programming we learned to projects like app challenges and robotics.
Have you created any apps? Tell us about them!
Through Girls Who Code’s Covergirl Mobile App Challenge, my friend and I created a wireframe for a global beauty app to promote cultural diversity by showcasing beauty looks from various cultures and to empower girls to embrace their heritage.This app included video and photo forums and a “Global” page which featured a new country and its beauty tips every month. Also, we featured facial disfigurement charities to allow users to donate and help others feel their best. We used fluidui.com to create the wireframe for this app.
For the Congressional App Challenge, I plan to incorporate the goals of my non-profit organization, Caring for Cancer, into a app with resources and guidance for newly diagnosed cancer patients. I am using appery.io and MIT app inventor to accomplish these goals.
Why do you think students should learn how to code?
I think students should learn how to code because programming skills are immensely useful in any field. Through talking with medical researchers, I have learned that the most groundbreaking and innovative advances have been through technology, and coding is an extremely valuable skill to have. No matter what one’s interests are, computer science can aid one’s passions.
Do you see yourself building a career field in the tech field?
I want to be an oncologist or neurologist. I do want to pursue computer science also as an undergraduate to be able to bridge the divide between these two worlds. I love the personal aspects of medicine, spending time with a patient listening to their goals and their fears and I hope I can use technology in ways that will make it easier to deliver the care.
What advice do you have for other beginners?
My advice for other beginners is to find what you are passionate about and think of how technology will aid your efforts. I also think that high schoolers should join clubs and teams at their schools and utilize local and web-based resources to learn how to program. There are many free websites that teach programming skills, such as CodeAcademy and CodingBat, and there are many opportunities in computer science for high schoolers.