Christine Zhang – 2022 Capital Region Rising Star
I plan on attending a four-year college and double majoring in computer science and political science. After that I’d like to work at Facebook or Instagram, and then work on my own start-up and pursue that hopefully as a full-time career.
My favorite part of STEM is technology. The reason why I like computer science so much is its flexibility and versatility – the ability for you to pursue computer science and almost any other interest because computer science can be involved in so many things. For example, me being able to combine my interest in both political science and computer science.
The advice I would give to my five-year-old self would be to try new things and be open to doing everything. I found that through taking on new projects, I was able to learn a lot of new things within the passions that I still have and plan on pursuing in my future.
To learn a little more about this year’s Rising Stars, we asked our awardees some fun questions. Check out these videos to hear Christine’s responses.
Christine, a student at Olympia High School in Olympia, WA, was nominated by her teacher-librarian Stacy Udo. She was selected for her leadership within the student organization BYHER4HER and her commitment to making computer science education accessible in her community. You can read the full nomination below.
What makes Christine a Rising Star
Christine is the co-founder of a student-led computer science-focused organization that strives to extend computer programming classes to every student in the Olympia School District called BYHER4HER. Last spring, she got the opportunity to work with an elementary school in our district; through the school’s library program, Christine and her team were able to bring computer science exposure and mini-classes to 4th and 5th graders at the school for six weeks. By the end of the six weeks, all of the elementary students had games, skits, and mini-apps that they had completed through code.
Because of the increasing use of computer science in more than almost 600,000 careers, it became evident to the BYHER4HER team that computer science needs to be taught to everyone, including students that don’t have the resources or support to attend out of school computer science classes. Currently, Christine is working with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) to bring computer science exposure/classes to every elementary school in the Olympia School District.
She is currently proposing this idea and curriculum to Olympia School District (OSD) cabinet members, and later will present information to the School Board. If supported, BYHER4HER would spend the next six months working extensively on a computer science curriculum suitable for 4th and 5th graders that would intersect with the current curriculum and standards that Teacher-Librarians follow. Christine and her team intend to collaborate with OSD teacher-librarians to create a curriculum that best accommodates the students and works well with existing content and schedules. Christine intends to offer professional development and training for the educators implementing the curriculum. (Curriculum available to view upon request.)
Christine’s motivation to educate today’s young children about the importance of computer science and coding, as well as modeling young women in STEM, is truly admirable. Her work and dedication to STEM make her an obvious choice as recipient of the STEM Rising Star Award.
The Washington STEM Rising Star Awards, presented by Kaiser Permanente, encourage girls to embrace STEM education and to explore the use of STEM in ways that will support their education, career, and personal development and the development and needs of others.
Meet all of the 2022 Washington STEM Rising Stars on our website!