My name is Osariemen Ogbemudia; I am 17 years old. I am from Nigeria and I attend Valley Stream North High School. My name means “God gives me” in Edo and idiomatically means ‘God’s gift.’ My parents picked this name for me because I am their first child and they expected me to be their only child. Around the time I was born, my parents converted to Christianity and they wanted to signify their new beginning as a couple, as Americans, and as Christians with my life.
My favorite part of Girls Who Code is struggling to understand something and seeing everyone else succeed while I struggle, until suddenly I get it and my world illuminates instantly.
My favorite subject in school is science. I love science more than other subjects because it is versatile and it is something that I can change. When I study science, I feel empowered. When an equation is solved, that is the end; however, science doesn’t end. Science doesn’t see your background, financial situation, or quirks; it is a group of principles and discoveries that I will one day add to.
I applied to the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program because I don’t have the opportunity to study computer science at my school and I really wanted to. I didn’t know if computer science was right for me, but I knew that I wanted to try something new and having the keyword “science” was definitely alluring.
I was picked to attend the program located at AT&T in Rockefeller Center. My first day left an impression on me like no other experience. The building was large and imposing. The inside was so beautiful and I felt like an ant inside the giant expanse. As the days have gone by, our conference room ‘classroom’ have become more familiar. I am now used to being in such an amazing place and I will miss it when I leave. It is a testament to my future.
My favorite part of Girls Who Code is struggling to understand something and seeing everyone else succeed while I struggle, until suddenly I get it and my world illuminates instantly. Things normally come easy to me and coding is not one of those things, so being constantly challenged is cool, exciting, and scary at times.
All the program’s guest speakers inspired me to work harder and strive to achieve great things, as well as inspire others, especially my sisters. Three women who visited my class left particularly memorable impressions on me. One senior executive from AT&T was a motherly figure and told me exactly what I needed to hear: “If you never ask, the answer is always no.” A female robotics engineer who met with my class introduced me to robotics and now I want to bring a robotics club to my school. Yet another woman who started her own urban revitalization consulting firm reminded me of the disparity that I must overcome and help others do the same. When I lived in Brooklyn, my parents always reminded me that the reason they make me study and work hard is so that I can inspire others to do the same and build my family and community. At school, I involve myself in activities where I know that my work will eventually make a difference and make both others and myself happy. The speakers engaged me and reminded me of all the lessons my parents have imparted over the years. My mother always told me that happiness starts from the outside and seeps in.
I have always aspired to be a pediatrician, but now I am not so sure. Girls Who Code exposed me to a field I would never have looked into and now I am extremely interested in computer science and coding. I can’t say that I want to be a computer scientist, but I can say that I will never stop coding and I want my children to code. Being able to make a computer do what I want is the most empowering thing that has been given to me. Girls Who Code has given me a gift of empowerment both emotionally, mentally and academically. I know that I will be a better student in September and I am excited to see what I am capable of.