On the prompting of their mom – an IBM engineer – Kavya and Priya Ramamoorthy began volunteering at Latinitas years ago teaching lessons to Latinitas ages 9-18 in robotics, video game design, wearable tech and coding. Both bound for college next year – they share their passion for helping the next generation find a love of tech, medicine and creation as they have:
You are graduating this year and going to college, what are you focusing on?
Kavya:Initially, I would like to work as a software developer at a company that focuses on big data to gain experience in the field. I love identifying patterns and would like to work for a company that translates these patterns into visual graphics. In the future I would like to branch out into social entrepreneurship and I hope to start my own business that creates technology to improve mental health.
Priya: As the doctor injected a shot, pricked the skin of my index finger, or stuck that mysterious light-emitting contraption near my opened mouth, I remember paying attention to the details in her movements: the way she pinched my shoulder fat before sticking in that shiny point, the way she massaged my finger just before drawing blood, the way she would systematically press my belly asking if it hurt. Unlike most children, going to the doctor’s office as a child filled me with excitement. Although at that young age I never understood what my doctor was doing, there was something intriguing about the entire process and it was this curiosity in the examination room that first sparked my desire to work in medicine. My desire to become a doctor grew during my sophomore, junior, and senior year, when I took a health science sequence at my school; through these courses, I recognized my love for learning anatomy and physiology. Another aspect I love about the field is your ability to be a disease detective. Doctors must use the signs and symptoms of a patient and be a detective to determine a diagnosis
You have worked with a cohort of Latinitas at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Latinitas’ Code Chica conference in app design this past Fall and Spring – what inspired you the most about these experiences?
Kavya: Seeing the girls’ faces as they become excited about technology and programming is my favorite part of each camp. It is amazing to watch how people can take a challenge and make their own to creative solution that could be completely different from the person sitting next to them but still achieve the same result. Programming is a universal language, and I love watching how it can bring together girls from so many different backgrounds and experiences.
Priya: It was amazing to see how quickly all the girls picked up coding skills in scratch and programming skills on the NXT Lego Mindstorms robots. Their enthusiasm to learn and desire to pursue a job in the STEM field inspired me, and I can’t wait to see how these girls will take their excitement further and break down gender barriers in STEM.
As 1st generation Americans (right?) do you relate to the girls and their experience? If so, how?
Priya + Kavya: We relate to the girls in that working hard to achieve our dreams have always been a priority. As a first generation Americans, hearing the struggles our parents went through to give us the life we have now makes us so much more appreciative, which is why we strive to take advantage of all the opportunities we have.
Favorite foods and thing to watch on TV:
Kavya: Chocolate cheesecake is something I can’t live without! Some of my favorite shows are White Collar, the West Wing, and anything on HGTV.
Priya: Like my sister I love cheesecake (especially a Smores one), but on any other day, you would probably find me snacking on samosas or extra-buttery popcorn! Right now my favorite shows are the West Wing, anything on HGTV, and Suits.