Inspiring Juniors Q&A: Andrea Dalisay

Meet UK Inspiring Juniors 2018 winner Andrea Dalisay, from Woking.

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1. How did you first get into technology?

When I moved to the UK in 2014, I got exposed to the world of coding and technology. It all started when I learnt how to program using Python and JavaScript from GCSE Computer Science. This sparked a new interest of creating programs, games, etc. just from coding!

Suddenly I found myself spending my weekends learning one skill after another, as it got me deeply passionate about programming and electronics, especially from an Arduino bootcamp that I joined. This led to more tech bootcamps and CoderDojo sessions learning more skills such as web development, game development and more.

I’m grateful for organisations that enable further learning and a sense of community, especially around girls in STEM such as Acorn Aspirations and Stemettes who have exposed me to various opportunities such as hackathons and tech conferences/exhibitions. I’ve brought my peers as well to various hackathons such as the Sky Hackathon, where we won a highly commended award against uni students!

2. Tell us about your project.

1. Making daily transit more efficient with Amazon’s Alexa through Conversational Skills

Together with my hackathon group, I created an Alexa Skill on transport called Early Bird. This skill helps public transport commuters manage their time when travelling as Alexa will be able to text you what time you need to leave in order to arrive at your destination on time. This project was created on my first hackathon with Acorn Aspiration where i learnt how to make an Alexa skill from scratch in less than a week and implement APIs coming from different platforms..

2. Supporting Mental Health for Students through Furriends and AI

I also helped create this chatbot app in a hackathon with Acorn Aspiration with the theme of mental health using AI. This app will help you relieve stress from exam pressures through encouraging positive thinking which helps relieve the stress. We chose to focus on exam stress in teens as studies show that this develops into mental health problems and illnesses as teens grow older, so it was important that we, as teens ourselves, help solve the problem.

3. When Creativity meets STEM [online store currently in development]

Fuelled by my passion for creativity and technology, I’m in the process of opening up an online store to sell funny, pun-ny merchandise that plays on various science, maths and technology terms. These merchandise aim to make STEM fun and encourage more girls to explore the wonderful world of STEM.

3. What do you love about technology?

I love how technology simplifies the way we learn about our world, do things in our everyday lives and connects us beyond borders. I couldn’t have imagined how easy it would be to hail a taxi from the comfort of my bed, versus having to go out to the street to find one. Or to find a really great recipe for lasagne from people I don’t know from all over the world. Or learn about how to learn a new language in a week or to even get an online degree on AI and neural networks.

Thanks to advanced computing and machine learning - we’re able to simplify the way we do things and make lives for the better. I’m excited to be a part of this ongoing revolution and the fact that we will witness a faster rate of change in the next few years.

4. Who inspires you?

I look up to a fellow Filipina, Anne Aaron, who always found herself as the lone woman in a room full of male engineers in Netflix. She is the Director for Video Algorithm, helping ensure our Netflix videos don’t buffer :) Filipino immigrant, working mom, renowned engineer in the San Fancisco Bay Area driving huge changes in the video and entertainment space. She has a team of top quantum physicists, researchers and scientists helping build the infrastructure and technology behind the growing success of Netflix.

5. What is your ultimate dream for the future?

I  don’t know what the future brings but I definitely see myself in an area of design and technology - leveraging the power of computing and a great user experience to simplify the way we live or the way we move and discover the world. We’ll see where technology takes us!

Also, I can’t wait to explore the world - get to know different cultures, different perspectives and soak in fresh stimulus and learning!