Posted by Ankita Upadhyay on May 30, 2017 at 4:43 PM

Hello Preemadonnas! My name is Ankita Upadhyay and I am currently a rising junior at UCSC pursuing a B.S. degree in computer science. I have a loving family with amazing, supportive parents, and a cute little sister who may or may not be better than me at coding. My best friend, Sneha, told me about Preemadonna and I was instantly intrigued by everything it stands for. Empowering women, inspiring creativity, and promoting self-expression all while utilizing tech skills by creating, inventing, designing…the possibilities are unlimited!

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My love for technology and beauty started at a young age. I have always been interested in beauty/makeup for as long as I can remember. Every time I brought new makeup products, I always took a picture and wrote reviews about them on my personal blog. As an eighth grader writing a blog for a class project, I was fascinated by the different ways I could design my posts using color, themes, layouts, etc. This inspired me to learn HTML & CSS and I eventually designed a couple themes on Tumblr! My high school didn’t offer many classes in computer science, so I decided to join a program held by Stanford undergraduate students called “Girls Teaching Girls to Code”. There I dabbled with Arduinos, learned about different programming languages, and even 3-D printed a case of the Golden Gate Bridge which I gave to my mom for Mother’s Day! After attending this program throughout high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue computer science in college.

I enjoy the feeling of creating products that others enjoy using and can truly benefit from. At UCSC, I am a member of Project AWESOME (Advancing Women’s Education in the School of Engineering) where we brainstorm and create school wide mobile applications, help peers with their CS classes, and participate in events that introduce coding to middle school and high school girls. My computer science courses get challenging as the quarters progress, but I look forward to taking upper division courses that appeal to me such as Mobile App Development and Data Structures. When I’m not studying or participating in clubs, I enjoy exploring the beautiful UCSC campus or going to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with my friends. I love hiking, jogging, and just immersing myself in nature. This summer I will be interning at Preemadonna and contributing by managing the Github, helping Sneha with the “Code Your Own Nail Art” website, and assisting fellow Preemadonnas in assembling the Maker Kit.

I love the idea that beauty and tech can go hand in hand. You don’t have to forgo one to pursue the other – everyone deserves to feel smart and beautiful. With hard work and motivation, everyone has the capability of creating something amazing. When I had the privilege of having lunch with Pree, she said something that really stuck with me, “We want to encourage and prepare future generations of girls to follow their dreams.” I aspire to become a software engineer one day and inspire girls to pursue STEM!

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