KomalSharma2600To celebrate our sixth annual Dare 2B Digital Silicon Valley Conference & Innovation Challenge this year, we’re introducing blog profiles of young women who “grew up” through our groundbreaking STEAM immersion program. We’re delighted to launch the series with a spotlight on Komal Sharma, a San Jose State University student who reached out to our office and shared her success story.

To be honest, we had to pass around the tissues to wipe away tears (of joy!) reading Komal’s words about her exciting journey. Stories like these are made possible by many advisors, parents and industry, community and academic partners who share our vision to enhance the lives of young people and inspire them to explore opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields.

Combining entrepreneurship and coding with my love for medicine
is something I have learned from Dare 2B Digital.
I will be forever grateful to this organization…

Here’s Komal’s message, edited for length and clarity:

I have attended Dare 2B Digital since the beginning. At first I did not want to go, but my dad told me that it would be worth it. I am really happy he took me that day even though it was bright and early! It was at Foothill College the first year, and while I was still getting angry at my dad for taking me, I was so thankful that he did.  I was given the chance to witness inspiring keynote speakers, wonderful young ladies, and learn so much. Ever since my first event, I have always looked forward to February rolling around when I would be able to go to this conference.

When I was no longer eligible to attend [Dare 2B Digital] as a student, I signed up to volunteer and also got the chance to be a social media ambassador. Dare 2B Digital has taught me two important things: the power of coding and my love for entrepreneurship. I recall an exercise where we coded a small sequence to make an animal jump a fence. That was the first time I ever coded, and knew it would not be my last.

Ever since then, my passion for coding grew. I went on to take AP Computer Science in high school. I was put off by the fact that there were 20 boys and only five girls in my class at Amador Valley High School. It made me realize the purpose of Dare 2B Digital and how it is so important to get more women in coding and other STEAM fields. I hope to continue coding for the rest of my life. Although I aspire to be a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact, I will always value coding. I aspire to code iPhone applications in which an iPhone/device placed near a newborn baby can detect if he/she is going into a position that can cause SIDS and immediately alert the parents.

Combining entrepreneurship and coding with my love for medicine is something I have learned from Dare 2B Digital. I will be forever grateful to this organization and everyone who has put this wonderful and inspirational idea together. I currently attend San Jose State University and have received an early admission acceptance from UC Davis to transfer Fall 2015 as a Neurobiology major.

We’re amazed by Komal and hundreds of young women like her who are dreaming big and changing the world thanks to the passion and connections sparked by Dare 2B Digital events.  If you’re a Dare 2B Digital alumni on the road to big things, we’d love to hear how Dare 2B Digital has touched your life. In her new role as Alumni Leader for Dare 2B Digital, Komal welcomes your feedback and involvement. Click here to send Komal a message.

Want to meet Komal and rub shoulders with a who’s who from top companies in Silicon Valley? Don’t miss the Dare 2B Digital Silicon Valley Conference & Innovation Challenge (#d2bd15) taking place Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood Shores, California. Learn more about the conference and register now at www.dare2bdigital.org.

Joanna Rustin (@joanna_rustin) is a Marketing Strategy advisor for Dare 2B Digital and CEO of Rustin Communications, a supporter since the program first launched.