Amira Johnson, 14, attends Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy and is a student ambassador for Technovation, a non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology and business-based careers.

Prior to taking on her current role as a student ambassador, she participated in the competition for three years with her app E.S.T.E.E.M, which was dedicated to teaching teens to gain and keep their self-confidence without depending on their peers for recognition.Technovation Logo

As a student ambassador last year, Amira led an all-girls coding program on Saturdays at her house, where she taught girls to code and build their own brands. She was able to recruit 25 girls and support 19 throughout the 2018 season. This year, Amira plans to double participation and send at least three of her teams to semi-finals!

Amira is actively seeking Technovation Challenge participants between the ages of 10-18. To learn more, please contact her at!


Carnegie STEM Girls Interview with Amira

Carnegie STEM Girls: When did you become interested in coding?

Amira Johnson: At my school, instead of having recess, we have activity — this is a chance for students to choose an extracurricular activity that they can do throughout the week.

Altruism, engage!

In sixth grade, I signed up for Movie Club as my first choice; however, all of the spots were taken and I was put into Girls Who Code, which I was not happy about at all.

The class was led by a formal computer science teacher, Ms. Gallapudi. She introduced me to Arduino, which has become one of my favorite coding languages, and Scratch. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be now.

CSG: Was there a particular person or event that influenced your love of coding?

AJ: Throughout my coding career, at least three people have influenced my love for it.Amira Johnson

The first person would be my former Girls Who Code teacher, Mrs. G. She always pushed me and wanted me to work to my greatest potential.

The next person would be my mentor, Mrs. Mallory. She’s mentored me since I was in the seventh grade, and she introduced me to various new programs and coding languages that I really like now. She truly inspires me to be the best that I can be.

Last, but not least, is my teacher Mr. Bland. After I found out Mrs. G had left the school, I planned on leaving Girls Who Code because I thought that since she didn’t teach it, I wouldn’t like it anymore. However, Mr. Bland picked it up and we were able to receive funding to do many cool programs and activities, including going to New York City and California to compete in Technovation.

CSG: Do you have a favorite coding program and why?

AJ: My two favorite coding programs are Python and JavaScript (on Khan Academy).

I like Python because it is simple and easy to understand. I like JavaScript because it is used alongside HTML, and I learned it through Khan Academy. On Khan Academy, it is helpful because you can see the output of your code, and change it based off of what you see. It is simple and interactive.

CSG: What made you interested in starting the local chapter of Technovation?

AJ: When the Girls Who Code competed in Technovation 2017, my Team E.S.T.E.E.M won first place at the regional pitch event in New York. My mentor recommended me to be a part of Technovation’s student ambassador program. One of the main points of the program is to recruit and support at least 10 girls through the program.

I figured that this would be good for me to do considering my love and commitment  to coding, and for Technovation in general. Ever since then, the Pittsburgh chapter has taken off and has grown a lot since the beginning.

CSG: What do you love most about Technovation?

I love being able to meet and interact with girls from all over the world. Through the program, I’ve been able to meet people from places like Ethiopia, Uzbekistan and Spain.

CSG: What do you aspire to be in the future?

How It Works!

How Do-Goodery Works

AJ: In the future, I want to go to either MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Pitt, or Lincoln University. I will double-major in software and biology, and minor in business. During college, I’ll have an internship at Google, and then continue to work at Google while I get my Doctorate.

When I get enough money, I’ll then begin my businesses, that will be focused on app/game making and summer/after-school programs and outreach. It will be the most amazing place you’ve ever visited. There will even be a giant slide that will take you from the top floor to the bottom floor!

To sum it up simply, I will be a successful businesswoman who gives back to her community and to everyone around her!

CSG: Who are your role-models?

AJ: I have a whole lot of role models!

The first person would be my mom, which is a common answer, but I have to be transparent here. My mom was the first person to go to and graduate from college in our family. She is very smart and will do anything for her family. I believe that my mom is the true definition of a mother, and that’s a role that is very difficult to live up to. When I grow up, I want to be just like my mom and more.

Another person would be my mentor, Ms. Mallory. She inspires me so much! She goes to Carnegie Mellon University which is where I want to go to when I graduate. Also, she just received her doctorate in school. She is inspiring because no matter how busy she is getting ready for her future, she still finds time to come and give back to her community.

CSG: What do you like to do in your free time?

AJ: I am a part of a lot of student councils and programs, so I am almost always busy. But no matter what, I always find time to watch Spongebob, listen to music, talk to my friends, and watch Korean TV Dramas.

I also host get-togethers and birthdays for my friends. My house is the place that everyone loves to come to. Our favorite thing to do is play Hide-N-Seek and Tag. We might be in 10th grade, but we always have the most fun!