With the announcement that Apps for Good Fellows Holly and Ellora have been nominated for the 2017 Women of the Future Awards we wanted to put the spotlight on some of the great work our female Fellows have been doing since they finished the Apps for Good course and what their plans for the future are.
Holly is a mathematician and co-founder of the app CryptoConnex. She entered the idea into our annual Awards in 2014 and won the category to have the app professionally developed. Having noticed the ever-increasing popularity of mobile games, Holly and her teammates decided to create a gamified app to effectively educate and raise awareness about cryptography.
Why Holly inspires us
Whilst at school Holly was a mentor to younger students, encouraging them to learn cryptography. Two of the three teams she mentored reached top 40 in a national competition with over a thousand teams competing this year. Alongside this she
helped out two local primary schools with extra-curricular lunchtime maths clubs. On top of this Holly was the orchestra section leader, where she played the double bass. She never stops inspiring her peers and acting as a role model for younger students to look up to!
Since winning in the national Apps for Good competition Holly is a regular speaker and attendee at our events. She advises on strategies for the future of the organisation, and helps with ideas for mentoring initiatives. Holly actively encourages younger students to join the Apps for Good alumni programme, of which she is a dedicated member. She recently took part in a ‘Diversity Hack Day’, where she discussed diversity in technology, and what more can be done to promote inclusivity. She makes sure her voice is heard on getting girls involved in tech and for that we applaud her greatly! Following her outstanding A-level results Holly will start her Maths degree this Autumn.
Ellora has a passion for coding and is the co-founder and Managing Director of her company Envirocache Ltd. In September 2015 Ellora pitched at the Outbox Incubator Demo Day and won ‘Outstanding Design’ for her startup. As a prize her and her co-founder received seed funding.
Why she inspires us
Despite not being shortlisted as a finalist in the Awards, in June 2016 Ellora was awarded Fellow of the Year, for her continued work developing her app and using her experiences to encourage others, especially girls, to try computing and show that being young doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious. The award ‘celebrates former Apps for Good students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to furthering their skills, inspiring other young people and creating positive change in the world through technology.’
Most recently Ellora has been selected as a finalist in the European Satellite Navigation Competition. If successful her app will win a package of support and funding which will help her to realise the dream. The entry was picked as just one of seven finalists from 250 entries (many of the other entries came from businesses which are already trading, headed up by space technologists and astro-physicists with years of experience in industry.) The UK finals took place in the UK Space Agency.
There are many career prospects in computing which Ellora is interested in, from Teaching to Ethical Hacking. She has demonstrated great tenacity (despite not making the Apps for Good finals with her app idea she has gone on to develop it anyway) she will always push herself and be a role model for others.
Ellora continues with her work inspiring younger students to become involved in technology through her work with the Apps for Good fellowship. She speaks at Apps for Good events and offers support and advice to those who have an interest in what she has achieved.
Katie is the founder and creator of the app I’m Okay which is a support app for teenagers questioning their sexuality and gender. She came up with the idea after realising the limited availability of resources on the subject despite this being a common experience for many teenagers. The free app can be used to read stories from people who have had similar experiences, understand definitions of LGTBQ terminology and access other resources. The main aim of the app is to help young people see that they’re not alone and get the answers and information they need. Katie and her school friends developed the app after pitching their idea to a judge of experts at the Apps for Good national competition.
Why she inspires us
Since the launch, Katie has been working independently to challenge stereotypes in tech and encourage more girls to follow a career path in technology. She has spoken at events, such as Oxfam’s Women in IT Day, to show that girls can be just as successful in the digital world as boys. She enjoys sharing her love of computing, and showing others it should not be seen as nerdy, but it’s seen as something fun and creative which girls should also try.
In her own words: ‘Only 19% of Computer Science graduates are female in the UK with 9% of the STEM workforce being female in the UK. Consider that these are the fastest growing, highest paying, most in-demand jobs in the UK and if current trends continue, only one out of ten of those jobs will be filled by women. We need to raise a new generation of women in technology who think creatively and who aren’t afraid to take risks and impact the world around them. The difficulty in attracting women into the tech industry is down to a combination of things, including the lack of STEM role models for girls. It’s really important for girls to be actively encouraged, and shown that computing is something that is ‘for’ them. There’s nothing there to actually stop girls from taking computing. It’s all about us knowing about the opportunity and feeling confident to take it. It’s important to know that it has been done, and it can be done.
Tech influences absolutely everything, and it is the future of every single industry. The future depends on technology, and on people with different points of view who aren’t afraid to try new things.’
In the future Katie wants to continue her work as a role model for girls in tech. “I really enjoy sharing my love of computing, and showing others how much fun it is. I like encouraging other girls to give it a try. I try to make sure it’s not just seen as this nerdy thing, but it’s seen as something fun and creative. I hope that when I go through my journey, I will become a role model for other girls in the future. I have also attended many Apps for Good events where I have spoken about my experience as well as taking the opportunity to speak to other tech role models. I am one of this year’s Code First: Girls “Ones to watch” and I plan on speaking at many more events in the future to help get my voice heard.’
We’d like to wish the girls good luck with their award nominations and look forward to what’s next.