Teenage tech maven Sharon Lin wants to reprogram the way humanity connects. This up-and-coming developer has blazed her trail well beyond Stuyvesant High School, where she is currently in her senior year. Sharon has founded two non-profits to educate girls about technology, she has written for publications including Huffington Post, she’s been involved in the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council, and she’s started hackathons to spark creative development across communities and industries…along with garnering countless accolades, awards, and achievements along the way.
Sharon has learned a lot about the value of independence, the weight of personal responsibility, and connecting with people outside of her comfort zone, all of which began the summer before her freshman year. That was when she moved to New York from her home in New Jersey. Sharon found herself navigating a different city and school system on her own, a new student in an unfamiliar place. High-school can be tough to adapt for anyone, but under these extraordinary conditions, Sharon didn’t just meet the challenge, she rose above it, going so far as to found the StuyHacks hackaton along with a few friends in 2015.
“StuyHacks is a student-led hackathon which organizes biannual events,” Sharon explains. “The group is entirely composed of student directors and organizers from Stuyvesant High School, who help coordinate sponsorship, venues, workshops, speakers, and activities that occur throughout the hackathon, as well as learning how to handle communications between partnerships with major corporations and startups.”
“Essentially, hackathons are 24-48 hour events where individuals gather in teams to build projects,” she elaborates. “These can range from websites to apps, hardware designs, robots, or anything else that utilizes some form of technology or a repurposing of an existing process. They’re mental hubs for innovation, sandboxes for creation, and pretty much the mecca for creativity for any person who’s curious about or interested in building things.”
Beyond hacking, Sharon wanted to inspire other students to pursue computer science, so she founded BitxBit Camp. “The basic premise is that it partners up middle schoolers with older mentors who provide them material for learning computer science, as well as opportunities to develop projects virtually throughout the year,” she says.
Sharon hasn’t always found herself in the pursuit of a STEM career. It was through her curiosity, exploration, and involvement in computer science that she found her love affair with programming. So how does it feel to be a young woman truly standing out in a field that has largely been a “boys club” up until recently?
“There definitely still is a glaring gap in the number of women pursuing careers within the STEM fields, and it’s definitely something we’re all working towards closing,” she says.
And does she have any advice for other young women who find themselves dabbling in math, science, technology, and more traditionally ‘masculine’ intellectual exploits?
“Never lose hope of the goals you have, and never let anyone else talk you out of them by saying you’re not good enough, or that you’re not meant for this,” she says. “Seek out mentors if you can, or find older girls who you admire, and befriend them. You’ll learn so much simply from hearing about the stories of these successful women, and it’ll give you a sense that what they’ve done is possible for you to do.”
This community leader, social activist, and academic overachiever is definitely one of the women we at Sock It To Me find an inspiration to us, for sure! For being a technologically genius programming warrior princess, we think Sharon Lin is a supremely Cool Girl!
You can check out what Sharon is up to on her website, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or through the StuyHacks website here: