Grade: Senior in high school, and dual-enrolled in CCBC
Hobbies: Making robotics, horseback riding, hanging out with her cats
Claire Smith used to look over the shoulders of her two brothers—she’s a triplet—and watch as they dabbled in computer science pursuits. Two years ago, she decided to do more than watch. Now, she’s on “watch lists” of up-and-coming females in the field.
It all started in 2015 when Claire applied and earned a coveted spot in the Girls Who Code (GWC) summer immersion program in Washington, D.C.
GWC, a national nonprofit committed to closing the gender gap in the technology, offers this free, weeks-long summer day program to female high school students interested in improving their computer coding skills.
“It was an amazing experience,” says Claire. “Slowly, everybody started to become a family. People from Microsoft came to talk to us. We went to the White House, and to a Hackathon in D.C.”
Soon after, Claire won one of a few coveted awards in the Baltimore Hackathon. The winning project? She designed and created a 3D-printout of a lightening bug figure and ancillary kit for students in elementary- and middle-school to be able to “code” the insect so that it actually lights up.
Claire, a fan both of technology and the natural world, has created an entire menagerie in this fashion. “I’ve made a dragonfly, spider, lightning bug. The dragon fly flaps its wings,” she says.
Claire’s fun, interactive creations are a sure-fire way to pique the interest of young students; so too is Make IT Work, a program she’s developed, modeled after GWC. “Taking my skills and knowledge, I’m making my own mini GWC, showing girls how amazing tech is,” Claire says.
Already, the world is recognizing how amazing Claire’s tech skills are. She’s made the TexXList, which recognizes the world’s up-and-coming women in the tech world. Look for her to make an even bigger splash in the tech world in years to come. For now, Claire has this advice to share with other girls who might be interested in computer science or other technology-related fields:
“If you’ve got even the slightest interest, don’t be intimidated by the boys. Ignore the stereotypes,” she says.
Know a child you’d like to nominate for our Baltimore’s Child of the Month contest? Click to enter here.