YouthCorner: Meet 14-year-old CEO, entrepreneur, and feminist STEM advocate Samaira Mehta
Samaira is the inventor of Coderbunnyz, a game that simplifies complex coding concepts and teaches them through an explorative adventure narrative. It has garnered a spot on the Amazon best seller’s list. She has likewise invented Coderminez, the world’s first ever artificial intelligence board game that simplifies the intricacies of AI for young learners. She has been featured on platforms like CNBC, Business Insider, The Today Show, and the Washington Post for both her creations and the many workshops that she has developed and organized.
When she was just 6 years old, Samaira’s dad introduced her to coding. Coding became something exciting to her. It was a mechanism for her to develop projects and games and bring anything that she dreamed of to life. But, over time, she saw that her friends did not share the same experience of coding that she had. They thought that coding was boring, hard, and never something that they would do for fun. That was the first time that she thought, “Hey, this is a problem. My friends don’t like coding as much as I do. But I think they could.” And that’s where her mindset about sharing her hobby emerged.
She got to work creating games that would teach her friends coding in a fun way. She quickly found that she very much enjoyed teaching her friends with these games. That’s when she started booking conference rooms on Saturday afternoons. Anybody who wanted to could come in, and she would teach them how to play and explain how what they learned connected to the real world and computer science. These events built up over time to create the board game that she has today.
At first, parents started coming up to her and asking where they could buy her games. Of course, she was just 7 years old and had no intention of selling a product. This was just a project she was doing for fun. But when more and more parents started telling her that this was something people would be willing to buy, she got excited and started thinking about how she could help more young people get into coding.
Her work became a way not only for parents to introduce coding to their children but for teachers to implement computer education in their classrooms. Samaira says that she sometimes cannot fully comprehend how vastly her project has evolved, but that it is humbling to see the support from her community and people around her. That’s why she thinks organizations like ASEI are important. ASEI helps create a community of like-minded people who truly want to lift each other up. Together, ASEI and Samaira want to help spread knowledge and information.
Samaira’s biggest advice for finding your passion is to continue doing new things, continue to experiment, and never say no to a new opportunity because you never know where it could lead you. Don’t force yourself to stick to activities you aren’t interested in. When she was younger there were so many activities that she was introduced to and there were a lot that she didn’t enjoy. She says she is very grateful to have parents that didn’t force those hobbies upon her and who instead let her explore her passions and blaze her own trail.
** This Article is contributed by Aditya Guthey - ASEI youth coordinator. He is available via linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/adityaguthey/ **