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MILLER PLACE, N.Y. (PIX11) — Lilah Lindemann is a junior at Miller Place High School on Long Island ​​with a passion for computer coding.

“Coding is super important because it serves as a way to fix all of these problems that we face as a society,” Lindemann said. “From diseases to climate change, anything that we struggle with today, people are working and trying to fix it with coding.”

She dreams of working in computer science, which is a heavily male-dominated field, which she realized as she tried to pass on her love of coding to younger children.

“I noticed all these girls that were super excited about programming when I ran workshops for elementary schoolers, but I found that as I moved through later grades, all these girls who had been so enthusiastic and so excited about learning to code had disappeared.”

Lilah discovered that by high school, less than a third of students taking the AP Computer Science exam were female. So in an effort to bridge the gap, Lilah partnered with Microsoft and Juni Learning – an online computer science academy for kids – to hold a virtual, two-day hackathon for middle school girls and non-binary people.

“The first day was filled with workshops. And then the second day, the girls got together in teams to be able to build projects on their own. And I especially feel that building projects and working with other girls to create something that you did, that’s yours, serves as concrete proof that yes, you can do this.”

Lilah will host more workshops this year, and plans to make the hackathon an annual event.

“Computer science fields are just so important and I want to be part of building a better future through this technology, and I also want to be part of encouraging others to do the same.”