Meet Atibhi and Prateksha, Our Rails Summer of Code Students

By: if me editors

July was the start of Rails Girls Summer of Code, get to know our students, Atibhi Agrawal and Prateksha Udhayanan! Follow their journey this summer on Twitter @Rubies_11_14.

Rails Girls Summer of Code (RGSoC) is an incredible three-month scholarship program to get women contributing to open source software. Last year, our students Sophie McDonald and Jenny Nam joined us from Melbourne, Australia.

It was such a fantastic experience — we’re incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to welcome new students this year! Let’s welcome Atibhi Agrawal and Prateksha Udhayanan, students from the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT Bangalore) in India.

Atibhi Agrawal

Photo of Atibhi in a sari, the tradition Indian attire

Tell us about yourself!

I am an electronics engineering student by day and a coder by night. I am in my third year of the Electronics and Communications Engineering program at IIIT Bangalore. I hope to someday combine my love for software and hardware!

I come from the state of Assam located in the northeastern part of India. It’s considered one of India’s most beautiful and untouched places!

Photo collage of nature in Assam

In my free time, I love reading books. From Harry Potter and Sidney Sheldon to Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Hanson, I read various books.

Apart from reading, I love working out and reading up on health and fitness. In the past few years, I’ve lost over 30 kg. Even though on some days all I want to do is curl up and eat junk food, I try to do some physical activity and stay healthy. I still have a long way to go…

Occasionally I write on Quora. It gives me a platform to express my views and share my experiences. In 2018, I was awarded the “Top Writer on Quora” for my valuable contributions. You can read more here!

How did you get started on your coding journey?

I was introduced to programming in my first semester of college. Initially, I hated it! I struggled a lot with syntax.

My professors gave interesting assignments and held helpful tutorials to guide us. Late night discussions and coding sessions with friends helped me a lot. This helpful coding culture made it easier to learn how to code.

In my first programming course, we used C and Python. I gained experience with several libraries, modules, techniques, algorithms, and patterns like object-oriented programming (OOP). For my final project of the semester, I made a calculator app in Python and a game in C. This project was the first time I embraced the joys of coding and saw its immense potential!

Why did you want to learn how to code?

Beyond college classes, I wanted to continue learning how to code because there was so much more to it than learning about it in a course and getting a good grade. After that, I started working on my own projects — a to-do list, personal website, and solving coding problems on HackerRank.

From IT to Healthcare, the endless possibilities that coding allows for is exciting! Leveraging software in any field or industry can improve knowledge, collaboration, and creativity.

Give a shout out to people who supported you throughout your journey!

This is my favorite question because no one has asked ever asked me this, and I have many people to thank!

My Mom and Dad have always been my pillars of strength. I hope to become half of the people they are by the time I’m their age!

My two close friends Brihi Joshi and Ayush Goyal! Brihi is a Rails Girls Summer of Code (RGSoC) 2017 scholar and she helped me at every stage, from agreeing to mentor me to reviewing our application. Ayush is a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2017 scholar. He introduced me to Open Source programs and this amazing community called metakgp.

I had so many people help review our application, including our coaches and mentors Srishti Sengupta, Aditya Thiru, Athithya Kumar, Gaurav Koley, and Raounaq Sharma, and Mohan Uncle, Valsala Mam.

Our if-me.org mentors Álvaro Casado, Camille Villa, and Julia Nguyen have been so warm and welcoming throughout the entire journey.

Last but not the least, Prateksha, for being the most amazing teammate! :)

University is stressful. It can feel like your successes and failures in school define who you are. How do you overcome and maintain better mental health?

I am open with my parents and talk openly about various issues. I talk to them daily. I also have amazing friends inside and outside of college. Having a great support system helps me maintain better health.

Why is mental health important to you?

During the summer of 2017, I volunteered at an NGO. I was closely involved with kids suffering from mental and physical health issues. Spending time with them made me acknowledge the privilege I have to be healthy and alive.

This experience inspired me to continue to help uplift underprivileged people and communities in any way I can. That’s why mental health is so important to me!

How did you find out about Rails Girls Summer of Code?

It was random! While getting started with using Ruby on Rails, I googled an error I was encountering and noticed RGSoC in one of the search results. I read up on their program and it made me excited!

What drew you to contribute to our project?

The project tagline “A community for mental health experiences” is what drew me to if-me.org. From a technical standpoint, I wanted further Ruby on Rails skills. The contributor community on Slack is one of the warmest and supportive communities that I’ve encountered.

Prateksha Udhayanan

Photo of Prateksha

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a second-year Computer Science Engineering student at IIIT Bangalore. I am currently learning and exploring various programming languages and frameworks.

I’m keen on contributing to the open source community because it is diverse and highly motivating. There is always something new and challenging in every issue I work on. Technology thrives in the open, where people are free to share their ideas and build on the work of others.

Apart from being a programming and tech enthusiast, I am passionate about dance. Dance is also about communication, albeit, one of a different kind. I have learned Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance form) for eight years and continue practicing it. It’s a performing medium through which I can express myself. A medium through which I can narrate stories. Apart from health and discipline, the happiness of perfecting a particular step and the excitement while performing on the stage can never be compensated by anything else.

I am from Bangalore, the Garden City of India. The city of Bangalore is a beautiful amalgamation of the historic and the modern. It is also one of India’s premier IT cities.

How did you get started on your coding journey?

My first exposure to computer programming was during my high school days. We were taught Java and I found it interesting. We made a simple Food Ordering App which allows the user to order food from various restaurants. It was a learning project and is similar in concept to FoodPanda.

In the first semester of college, I was introduced to programming in C and Python as well as programming competition and web development. The thrill of solving a problem while tackling it in different angles, the immense pleasure of seeing those green ticks when my code passes sample test cases fills me with a sense of achievement. Over time, I fell in love with programming!

Why did you want to learn how to code?

Both web development and programming competitions gave me a glimpse of all the opportunities in programming and how much I could achieve.

My first project after coming to college was based on web scraping. It was a Python-based scraper which would extract all the information about assignments, exams and submission deadlines and notify the student. It’s amazing how we can build applications and tools based on our requirements.

I am an active participant in the online coding contests organized by sites like HackerRank and Codeforces. I often refer to sites like GeeksForGeeks.These competitions have hugely helped in the development of my programming skills.

You can do amazing things when you know how to code. It’s so rewarding to see through a project, tool, or application from the ground up. Sharing what you’ve created with the ever-evolving coding community is so exciting. You get to learn a lot by interacting with people from different programming backgrounds and discussing ideas.

Give a shout out to people who supported you throughout your journey!

Mom and Dad! They have instilled in me a strong passion for learning. They have been such a strong foundation for support and guidance.

Atibhi, my teammate. Without her, RGSoC couldn’t have happened to me.

Our coaches and mentors Srishti Sengupta, Aditya Thiru, Athithya Kumar, Gaurav Koley, and Raounaq Sharma have given us so much encouragement and guidance.

Álvaro Casado, Camille Villa, and Julia Nguyen have been amazing mentors! They have helped and guided us right from the start of our journey.

University is stressful. It can feel like your successes and failures in school define who you are. How do you overcome and maintain better mental health?

University can be fun as well as stressful. Making time in your hectic schedule to do well in exams, projects, and assignments is difficult. Occasional outings with friends help to deal with all the pressures.

Living away from home in a hostel can at times be difficult to adjust to. Talking to my parents makes me feel better. I talk to them daily and share various things that are going on with me.

Why is mental health important to you?

Having good mental health is one of our greatest assets. The quality of our lives is determined by our thoughts. A happy mind makes us feel good about ourselves. It allows us to appreciate the good things that surround us.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” — John Milton.

How did you find out about Rails Girls Summer of Code?

Atibhi was looking for a teammate for RGSoC. She asked me if I was interested. I checked the RGSoC website and found it exciting. It was a great opportunity for me to interact with people from different programming backgrounds, discuss ideas, and build something meaningful together.

What drew you to contribute to our project?

I have always wanted to give back to the mental health community. if-me.org is an exciting opportunity where I can contribute to a project that helps people from different backgrounds to come together and share their feelings and experiences authentically.


Endless hearts 💜 to Rails Girls Summer of Code. Thanks Srishti Sengupta, Aditya Thiru, Athithya Kumar, Gaurav Koley, Raounaq Sharma, Álvaro Casado, Camille Villa, and Julia Nguyen for coaching and mentoring! Last but not least, thank you Atibhi Agrawal and Prateksha Udhayanan of Team Rubies for joining us!

You can use our site if-me.org to share with loved ones your mental health experiences and plan out strategies to tackle them. We’re an open source organization run by volunteers.