Los Altos High School, Los Altos
For Sirinda Wongpanich, computer science is the language of the future and the way to empower future innovators. In 2014, when her mother first showed her pictures of a flooded school in her hometown in Thailand, Sirinda initially thought there was nothing she could do to help. The school buildings were beyond repair, the computers ruined. So she launched Code(Thailand), an organization to teach coding and inspire rural kids in Thailand. She created lectures and activities, and runs bi-monthly classes via videoconference.
In addition to inspiring kids to lear about algorithms and syntax, Sirinda is learning of a bond with her roots, which she vows never again to lose. Having expanded her coding circle over the past three years, serving as TA for Girls Who Code this past summer, Sirinda is now focused on teamwork as a vital part of learning computer science that is missing in most conventional classrooms. Above all, teamwork, she believes, is what drives creation in computer programming. Having established a digital mindset with Code(Thailand), Sirinda seeks to create an online learning platform that combines the best of social media, enabling project sharing, open questions and answers, and community development. A platform that allows coders from all skill levels to not only learn, but to apply their skills to collaborative projects. In short, a place where one can learn to learn, to innovate upon innovations, and to make the best better – all the while, making the world a better place.