Published Author, Speaker, STEM Activist, New York City
At 19 Sasha Ariel Alston wrote a children's book called "Sasha Savvy Loves to Code", a semi-autobiographical story about a 10-year-old girl and her friends attending an all-girls coding camp. The book is meant to inspire young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while also teaching some programming basics.
Sasha had successful internships at Infor, Microsoft, EverFi, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Many Mentors, and the National Academy Foundation. She is also a sought-after speaker to encourage youth, especially girls of color, to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM. Sasha was also the recipient of the Imani Award and the Prize for Achievement Award by Kurt Giessler Foundation, and was published in the Harvard Educational Review - Youth Voices. Thank you for energizing @wow.woman.official to keep finding and featuring inspiring women.
Sasha Ariel Alston
2. Where is your hometown?
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
Author, Speaker, S.T.E.M. Activist
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey?
This has been an amazing journey. When I wrote Sasha Savvy Loves to Code and created the Kickstarter campaign, I didn’t expect to receive so much recognition. There has been ups and downs but hardwork and determination is key when you want to achieve a goal.
5. What did you study in school?
I am a student at Pace University majoring in Information Systems and minoring in Marketing.
6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?
When I was younger, I only pictured myself as a college student in New York City majoring in Criminal Justice. It’s exciting to be at this point and see how far I’ve come. Not only am I college student in New York but also an author that used writing to promote diversity in technology.
7. Biggest accomplishment since making the (physical/mental) move?
My biggest accomplishment was being apart of the Disney Dream Big Princess Photography Campaign. This campaign celebrated inspiring stories from around the world to encourage kids everywhere to dream big.
8. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?
I was extremely disappointed when I got rejections from book agents. My mom was extremely supportive during this entire process.
9. Advice for other women?
It’s important that you believe in yourself, stay focused, get help when needed and never give up.
10. Knowing what we know now in current climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world?
Yes, from my own experience, I’ve noticed that there just aren’t enough girls involved in STEM-related activities. Raising interest and changing these statistics starts with exposing girls to STEM at an early age. One of the reasons why there is a lack of girls interested in STEM, specifically coding is because they are not exposed to it in school or at home. When girls are able to see themselves in the careers they want to pursue, it shows them that they can do it too.
11. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?
I plan to develop an education technology startup that provides students with the skills needed to excel in school and life. I also want to further develop the characters in my book with other projects. Finally, I will continue the movement to get more underrepresented people into STEM.
12. What inspires you?
It’s very exciting to see so many organizations, programs and clubs designed to get girls interested in STEM. The film Hidden Figures which celebrates three African-American women that worked for NASA in the early sixties, has been a great inspiration to me and others. I am proud to be a part of this movement.
13. What are you hopeful about?
I’m hopeful about all of the possibilities that will come out of this book and the girls that will make a difference in S.T.E.M.
14. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
I’m currently reading Welcome to the Real World by Lauren Berger. My favorite book is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
15. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)?
My mom inspires me daily and is a great role model. When I faced challenges with my major, my mom was always there when I needed someone to talk to. This is something that I am passionate about so I knew I needed to find a way to get through it.
16. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?
My website is sashaarielalston.com
I am also working on a website for blogs.