Sharon Lin

Sharon Lin - 2016 Nominee
Position: Founder, Executive Director
Organization: StuyHacks
Sharon Lin is dedicated to spreading awareness of technology education and computer science to students of all ages. Her award-winning hackathons and meetups give families and children opportunities to advance their careers and technical knowledge. – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

My main achievements are closer to general education, but through the hackathons and technology conferences I've been to, I've always made an effort to incorporate elements of issues not often discussed into my talks and panels. For instance, during the 2015 Pearl Hacks, I helped create an app that teaches teens and younger students the perils of not safely using contraceptives. Even at a young age, this allows them to understand that there is a necessity for such tools in our lives, and that they should not be held as taboo for any reason. In another case, I helped create an app that reminds users of their health and well-being in other ways, and by doing so, provides a discreet but effective means for people to understand what it means to be aware of their bodies and their actions.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I've been volunteering for family functions since I was four, when I first started working with my Chinese School's dance troupes and community organizers in bringing our culture to the others in our community. Since then, I've always found it enjoyable to create opportunities to people, whether that's cultural, technological, educational, or otherwise. Family planning for me means creating opportunities for people to go beyond their comfort zones, and providing them support.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

It's usually skepticism that creates obstacles. Whether this is through my race, my gender, or otherwise, I've found that there are often internal biases housed in every person, which prevent teams from working effectively together, or even individuals from helping make the best of their situations. I've always found that have a level-head and constantly reminding yourself of your qualifications really allows me to ignore these challenges and to take on whatever task I have.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

The biggest challenges are still having the resources to allocate to all of the people who need them. It's heart-breaking to see schools in the inner-city with barely enough students or teachers or even city funds to be running, and yet that's the reality for the majority of students. They don't have the proper equipment or tools to learn, and as a result, they learn to cope with mediocrity. Having a more equitable system and people willing to step in and bridge this gap is the only solution.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want to bring computer science to students from all backgrounds, and to introduce education systems that may not typically have the resources to the wealth of opportunities available in the technology industry. I want to inspire others, especially young children and older individuals, to empower themselves through technology and through programming. Most of all, I want to help integrate technology into the educational environment as much as I can.

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