1:47 - From the US to Switzerland
10:37 - Teaching girls to code
25:43 - Non-profit & a day job
32:45 - How to spot burnout
50:51 - Rapid fire questions
Lara Riparip is the co-founder of and an instructor at GirlsCodeToo, a coding academy for girls striving to breach the gender gap in STEM. She holds an MSc in Neural Systems and Computation from ETH and previously worked as a Staff Research Associate at the University of California. She currently works as a Frontend Software Engineer at Avaloq, a global leader in digital banking solutions.
Back in 2020, she co-founded an association called Girls Can Code, but unfortunately due to a lack of strict guidelines the founding team ran into disagreements which led to a separation, and out of this breach the GirlsCodeToo project was born in 2021. They’re a non-profit with the goal of motivating young girls across Switzerland to use coding as a way of expressing their creativity, and to inspire more girls to study computer science at a university level.
They target 8-18yo and their workshops are held in English, German and/or French and/or Italian. They provide both introductory coding workshops as well as in-depth workshops in specific coding languages or technologies. They also provide workshops to boost confidence and interpersonal skills. The prices they charge, together with donations, crowdfunding and corporate sponsorships allow them to cover their costs.
Lara is no stranger to the hardships of running a project on top of your day job, and she has learned how this can lead to burnout. She warns listeners to watch out for telltale signs, like no longer drawing any enjoyment from the activities which used to make you happy. She encourages listeners to schedule time for themselves and time for boredom, as well as quality time with friends and family.
"If I could talk to an 8 year old me, I’d tell her to try as many things as possible, even if you suck at first."