Today, Earth Day, was also the March for Science in Washington, DC, a nonpartisan gathering of scientists to protest the devaluation of the scientific fields and the need for a sense of community in the sciences. I had an amazing opportunity to address the crowd of thousands of science supporters for two minutes as a main-stage speaker.
My speech was about the importance of science, specifically computer science, education for all in accordance with my own experiences as a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
As a female computer science student, I have experienced first-hand the pressure and discouragement that minority students feel when entering the white male-dominated STEM fields. Therefore, I am marching for the future dreams of these students, which will be crushed without continued support for STEM.
I was also marching for the computer science fields as a whole. Computer science is often regarded as separate from the rest of science– and outsider– but in our modern day and age, it’s the foundation for every other advancement. Looking out in the crowd I saw signs for just about every field of STEM– medicine, geology, physics, chemistry– and hope that inclusive community will continue past today.
The March was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Despite the rainy weather, there was a huge turnout, which makes me very optimistic for the future of science. Although the circumstances for the March were unfortunate, the act of the scientific community coming together as a whole and taking a stand will no doubt have large effects on STEM support from the government.
Check out a video of my speech from the Earth Day Network’s Live Stream:
Transcript of my speech:
Do you shop online at Amazon? Do you use Google at least 10 times a day? Do you share pictures on Instagram? Well, all of these technologies would not be possible without computer science. Computer science is the backbone of all the technology that we use today.
My name is Kavya Kopparapu. I’m 16 years old, and I’m a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. And I’m here today for the future of computer science.
Computer science is at the forefront of every field. So why don’t we have an emphasis on computer science education? Only 40 percent of our schools offer computer science, which means—you do the math—we’re missing 60 percent of our future Bill Gates, future Mark Zuckerbergs and future innovation. To compete as a country, we need to compute. Without computer science, our economy would come to a halt. Innovation in medicine would cease. Our space program would not exist. Like, hope for a greener future would be crushed. Computer science is the foundation for the future. It’s a future of robotic surgeries, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality.
And women should be the driving force of this future innovation. Computer science is for all. That’s why I founded GirlsComputingLeague. It’s a nonprofit that empowers girls to pursue computer science in middle and high school. We need more girls in computer science. We need more diversity in computer science. In my future career, I don’t want to be known as a girl that happens to be a computer scientist; I want to be known as a computer scientist that happens to be a girl. Today, I am marching for computer science to be for all ages, all genders and all races. Today, I am marching for computer science for all. Thank you.