Name: Charusmita Madan
“Technology changes really quickly and no curriculum can keep up with the changes. Hackathons complement what you’re learning in school.”
– Charusmita Madan
Charusmita Madan was first exposed to computer coding in sixth grade in her native Delhi. “All I remember is that when I wrote something, something moved on the screen,” she recalls. “It was like pure magic. I continued to progress with it in middle school and early high school.”
High school found her newly arrived with her family in Elmhurst. In her senior year at Information Technology High School in Long Island City, she took advantage of CUNY’s College Now program to take college-level courses, Pre-Calculus and Calculus 1, at Queens College where she subsequently became a full-time student. In May 2019, Madan will graduate boasting an impressive resume of tech field skills and accomplishments that have won her several employment offers, not to mention the gratitude of many on the QC campus who have benefited from her coding skills and her willingness to employ them to advance a cause.
Almost from the outset, Madan recognized that women were significantly underrepresented in computer sciences, both in education and industry. Significantly, there were no female role models for young female coders such as herself. She sought to address this imbalance in September 2017 by founding wementor, which uses a computer algorithm to match college students with mentors from the tech industry; the goal is to build a pipeline between existing talent and upcoming talent, especially for minority groups and women.
Additionally, with Ying Zhou, executive director of QC’s Tech Incubator, Madan conceived the idea of Women in Tech, a club that rapidly became a magnet for other female students with a strong interest in tech. “At our first meeting in Spring 2018, we had about 15, 20 women,” recalls Madan. “At our first meeting in Fall 2018, we had about 60 or 70 women!”
Madan has organized and raised funding for two hackathons. The first, an all-female, 12-hour event, attracted over 150 participants from QC, other CUNY campuses, and surrounding high schools. The second drew more than 400 students from various CUNY campuses. She sees great value in hackathons, which allow people to refine their skills.
Madan will be accepting a position in the global technology analyst program at Bank of America, working on technical and business strategy-related projects.