Women Who Reign: Tanya Ravi
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” — Roald Dahl
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! I’m Tanya Ravi, a high school senior at Freedom High School heading to college this fall to pursue a Computer Science degree at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Honors College. This past year, I started an organization called “Cupcakes ‘n Code” to introduce girls in my community to coding!
A fun fact about me is that I love music, I am a member of the Advanced Women’s Choir at school and have taught myself how to play the guitar, piano and ukulele.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
My favorite, and funniest, tech tool is the Chrome extension called nCage that replaces all images on all pages to those of Nicolas Cage. I think it is absolutely hilarious and proof that coding is so cool!
On a more serious note, my favorite app is SkyView that helps identify constellations (I am super interested to know how they coded that!).
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Mrs. Cossa, my Computer Science teacher, inspires me everyday.
Although it was intimidating at first glance, being one of the only girls in my Computer Science class, I grew closer to my teacher, Mrs. Cossa.
As the year passed by, she quickly became my mentor and told me about her background as a prior tech employee in the corporate world and shift to teaching CS due to her passion of getting girls excited about programming. Her selfless decision is what ultimately inspired me to join the initiative of getting girls involved in CS. I am so grateful for her passion and dedication to the subject.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In a society that unknowingly places the male gender on a pedestal, opportunities are often withheld from females and granted to our male counterparts. Walking into computer science as an eager, yet inexperienced, sophomore, the first thing I recognized was the number of girls in my class: three out of 25 students. For most girls, this would be the time to file for a class change and switch out immediately.
But there was something in the back of my mind encouraging me to stay- and I’m so incredibly glad that I did. Computer science has changed my life for the better.
How are you involved in your school and community?
I have never believed in the stereotypical high school “cliques”. At school, I try to immerse myself in various areas as the Programming Club President, Captain of the Varsity Tennis Team, part of the Advanced Women’s Choir, and a Computer Science Teacher’s Assistant. I look forward to continue my passions in college!
I hope to work at a startup that brings about global change and focuses on the greater good, such as Gham Power, to bring low cost and high quality solar technology to Nepal and other underdeveloped countries, which merges my interest in geographic information systems and computer science; or, Re-Nuble, converting food waste to an organic fertilizer, again, intertwining my interests in the environment and computer science.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I want girls to stop buying into the stereotype that a job involving computer science is a job strictly for men. I want girls to know that they can succeed in the computer science field where each person has the ability to create and improve; and constantly evolve themselves and the world around them.
It is solely up to us to educate and empower one another, to gain knowledge and prove ourselves.
If I had let the lack of girls in my computer science class negatively affect my actions, maybe I wouldn’t have discovered the realm of coding. Maybe I would have become “that girl”, the one who obediently agrees without question and has no beliefs of her own.
I would encourage other girls and women to be the strong, independent person you were brought into this world to be- create your own destiny and don’t give into society’s expectations.