Andrea (Andy) Gonzales and Sophie Houser, two NYC high school students, are the brains behind Tampon Run, after crating the project at a Girls Who Code camp.
You’re both so young at 16 and 17 years old, how did you learn about the Girls Who Code camp? How did the camp assist you or broaden your awareness of other women coders?
SOPHIE: My mom suggested I apply because she knew I love being creative and I also love math. She thought the two intersected with coding (although now that I’m coding I’ve found it’s more logical than mathematical). The experience definitely broadened my awareness of other women coders. We had females in the tech world speak to us several times a week, as well as female mentors who worked at IAC (the company that hosted us for the summer). The female coding community is incredibly welcoming, supportive and encouraging of other women coders.
ANDY: I’ve been coding for a couple years now–for the two summers before I attended Girls Who Code, I was at a co-ed computer camp called SummerTech Computer Camps. Although the ratio has improved a lot since then, my first week there there were only 4 girls in a camp of 50 people. By the time I was old enough to apply to Girls Who Code, I was so accustomed to working in a predominantly male environment that I was worried about how successful I would be at GWC.
People are always talking about the disparity of women coders in the tech industry. This is absolutely true; however, while I was at GWC I realized just how wonderful and supportive the existing community of women coders are. Girls need to realize that if they have the courage to take the first step, you’re far from alone! Albeit small, there is a warm and welcoming community ready to help you every step of the way.
You idea for Tampon Run is so simple and bold, that’s why it’s so great. How has the reaction from the public been since you released the game?
SOPHIE: The reaction from the public has been almost entirely positive! And it’s coming from both men and women all over the world. It’s empowering that Andy and I could create something in a week from NYC, and now it can reach and affect people from Brazil to Australia. It is a testament to the power of coding and the internet.
ANDY: Incredibly positive! We are so happy to see how welcoming people have been to the game and its message. Even seeing critique or disagreement is a success in my book–our goal was to create discussion and if someone writes an article about how much they hate TR, it’s still a reaction!
What do you both plan to do after high-school?
SOPHIE: After high school I’m planning to get a CS degree in college. Career wise, I’m not sure if I want to continue making games, but I definitely want to use code to cause social change.
ANDY: Certainly Computer Science and programming. I’ve been set on that for a while, and I’ve been exploring different career paths I could follow with a degree in CS. Game development is definitely up there!
Outside of IT, what do you enjoy doing on the weekends or in your spare time?
SOPHIE: I love photography, writing, watching movies and hanging out with my friends. I’m also the co-captain of my school’s tennis team.
ANDY: Hahaha, too much! When Tampon Run isn’t taking over my schedule, my day is booked with a slew of extracurriculars. I love playing on my school’s volleyball team, I’m a captain at my school’s robotics team, and I’m studying classical piano. I love theater production and I could say I play ukulele too (but who doesn’t these days).
Photo credit: here