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Christina Li Interview for Halo Effect Hello World Episode

By May 24, 2016

Last week I shared my interview with Sydney Park about hosting Nickelodeon's "The HALO Effect" and what viewers can look forward to when watching the next episode “Hello World", featuring Christina Li camp for girls interested in computer science.

Christina Li Interview for Halo Effect Hello World, a computer science camp for girls

Falling in love with tech and being a natural, Christina Li joined her school’s Robotics Club and participated in numerous summer tech programs to advance her learning. During a computer science summer class, she noticed that most of the students were males and there was only one other girl besides herself.

Looking to close the gender gap in the tech world, Li created Hello World, a computer science day camp specifically for young girls. The camp aims to teach programing code, web development, app and game design and robotics through fun and immersive workshops.

In recognition of her outstanding leadership and encouragement, Nickelodeon awarded a $10,000 grant to Li’s camp. I hope you watched the episode, but if you missed it, you can still catch the encore on Sunday, May 29, at 9:30pm (ET/PT) on TeenNick.

To learn more about “Hello World" camp, I was able to interview Christina Li and learn how she came up with the idea and her advice to other young girls interested in computer science.

Christina Li Interview for Halo Effect Hello World, a computer science camp for girls

Onica {MommyFactor}: You were featured in the “Hello World" episode of Nickelodeon's The HALO Effect. Can you tell me how that happened? And how you felt when you were contacted to be part of this episode?

Christina Li: I as really surprised when I was contacted. I wasn't sure how Nickelodeon heard about my camp. But there was some press last year, the first time we ran the camp, there was a local newspaper and a couple of Detroit TV channels. But it was just local news so I didn't expect too much from it.

But I think how they (Nickelodeon HALO Effect) found out about it was because I wrote a medium article last summer and that received a ton of views. And I think that's how lot more people heard about my camp and how they (Nickelodeon HALO Effect) found me. But I'm still really surprised that out of everybody that does amazing things they (Nickelodeon HALO Effect) contacted me and wanted to do something.

Christina Li Interview for Halo Effect Hello World, a computer science camp for girls

Onica {MommyFactor}: But your camp idea is pretty cool. Can you tell me how you came up with a camp idea versus a class or something else. What made you say, I want to make this a camp and just for girls?

Christina Li: As far as the camp idea, I did a lot of summer camps in high school. In my sophomore year I did a camp at Michigan tech, and I really enjoyed it. It was like a computer science camp and we had a week to make an app. It was pretty basic but it was lot of fun to me.

In middle school, I did a couple camps also but in high school I really found out how important these camp were. For my junior year I did another camp at Stanford University, which will be the school I'm going to next year. I just took classes at Stanford and it was really cool. I got to meet so many amazing people. Obviously I learned things, and that was cool. But what really made an impact was all the cool people that I meet that has the same interest and drive as I did. I'm still good friends with some of the people I lived with there 2 to 3 years later.

So I wanted to make “Hello World” kind of a camp of spring/winter break. I realized the idea of coming in during break to actually learn something instead of just staying at home on the couch, was really cool. There was also people from all over the district, and a even couple outside the district, and they got to meet each other, talk together and make friends.

When I talked to them after everything was over, I asked what was your favorite part of the camp? Some of them said learning to make a game but others said making new friends there. And I was really happy to hear that, because there's not that many women now in computer science now and it's really important.

So it's really essential to get encouragement from each other.

Onica {MommyFactor}: I know that you started getting into Technology very young from the 3rd grade. Where your parents/friends supportive of you or did they think this is going to be a hobby that will pass?

Christina Li: I'm a triple, so I have two brothers the same ago. So my parents are use to us doing random things because we wanted to. It's something that I'm really glad about, looking back at it now. My parents never said you can't, they were always encouraging and gave us many opportunities to try something new.

So they (parents) never discouraged me from it.

Onica {MommyFactor}: Can you talk about the #HALOEffectChallenge that's connected with your episode?

Christina Li: The emoji challenge is a cute idea that's target toward younger kids. The coding game I'm really excited about. There's this article floating around by tech crunch saying that coding shouldn't be the new literacy. That you don't expect ever person to know how to do plumbing, etc.

But the thing is, since so much of our lives will be touch by technology, no matter what field you are in. With programing almost anything can be done and make our life much easier. Which would be good whether you are a lawyer, just an ever day person or whatever. There's just so many applications to technology. Especially when you are young coding games or whatever doing coding exercise are a really good start.

Onica {MommyFactor}: A lot of young girls, even though they have an interested in technology and computer science, they lack the confidence to continue their tech interest. What advice would you give them?

Christina Li: I have a story. When I was at a hack-a-ton in San Francisco, there was this guy who wouldn't let me and another girl work on anything. Since that was my first hack-a-ton, I thought we had such a short time-frame, so I kinda understood why I wasn't allowed to work on anything. But the other girl there was a Google intern and she wasn't allowed to do anything either.

So the major thing is don't let anyone tell you what you can or can't do. And if they say that you can't do it, then use what they said. Just keep that in the back of your mind whenever your doing things. So at the end of the day you can prove them wrong.

That's a great way of looking at challenges. Thanks to Nickelodeon and Christina Li for the interview.

Halo Effect episode Christina Li Hello World a computer science camp for middle school girls

In the HALO Effect, “Hello World,” episode which premiered Friday, May 20, at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon, extraordinary teen Christina Li uses her passion for technology to increase female participation in the field of computer science.

The episode follows Li as she organizes and instructs a computer science camp for middle school girls in her Michigan school district.

“Hello World” will encore Monday, May 23, at 8:00pm (ET/PT) on Nicktoons and Sunday, May 29, at 9:30pm (ET/PT) on TeenNick.

Nickelodeon's The HALO Effect, 30-minute monthly episodes focus on a teen taking on issues ranging from poverty, to helping military families, to the environment.

The HALO Effect aims to inspire kids and teens to be active leaders in their communities by offering an insider’s look at the personal stories of individuals who have been inspired to give back.

The HALO Effect is executive produced by Nick Cannon and NCredible Entertainment, as well as Morgan Spurlock, Richard Arlook, Jeremy Chilnick and Ethan Goldman of Warrior Poets.

To learn more about The HALO Effect, visit - www.nick.com/halo-effect/
On Facebook - www.facebook.com/NickelodeonHALO
On Twitter - www.twitter.com/NickelodeonHALO

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