Who Is Omika?
I am currently a second-year at the University of Virginia. As a double major in American Studies and Computer Science, I'm tying together interests and fields which aren't commonly associated with one another. The intersection of the humanities and technology is fascinating, and I can't wait to explore it in more depth as I continue to learn.
In high school, I developed and led Leap Into Technology, an adaptive program that helps girls learn about that one field that everyone knows is blowing up, but not everyone knows how to get into: technology. During my time with the program, I worked with lots of middle school-aged girls, and learned valuable lessons about curriculum development, leadership, and even myself.
Recently, I've gathered a really cool group of college students to try to get low-income high school students into college through an effort called The Admit List. It works by pairing college students with high school students and making sure they follow a timeline provided by the organization, depending on what path to education the (high school) student is interested in taking.
I have years of public speaking experience. I've moderated panels featuring impressive women in technology, competed in organized debate on both high school and collegiate levels, and spoken to girls nationwide about female empowerment, getting a seat at the table, and more.
Beyond majoring in CS at UVA, I'm involved with in a lot of other technical endeavors. In 2019, I was featured as one of UNICEF's Top 10 Young Leaders through the Women in IT Awards, and recognized on a national scale by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) two years in a row. My junior year of high school (woah, that was a long time ago) I was invited to the White House as a result of my work with women in tech.
Each of the things that I do: learning, teaching, speaking, and coding all come together in the final aspect of me. I speak up for the advancement of women in technology. I try to inspire girls who remind me so much of myself in middle school to continue following their interests. I try to make sure that girls won't feel out of place in classes like computer science like I did. I try my very best to give them all a voice, because when you're a middle school student trying to explore something you think is cool, sometimes it feels like you don't have one.