"If you are interested in STEM, you have to be very disciplined and determined. It requires a lot of focus, studying, and practice. Being clear on what your mission is and how you will use the skills is key."
– Sasha Ariel Alston, Class of 2019

This is the first semester at Lubin for transfer student Sasha Ariel Alston '19. Sasha is from Washington, D.C., and is an information systems major on our New York City Campus. She recently wrote a children’s book Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code, which was written to encourage and empower girls, especially girls of color, to learn how to code. 
 
Why did you decide to transfer to Pace University/Lubin School of Business?
After touring Pace this summer, I was excited to learn that the business school offers the Information Systems BBA major which is a correlation between my two primary academic interests of business and computer science. I also appreciate Pace’s location in New York - a hub of business and technology innovations and its reputation in finding excellent internship opportunities for its students.
 
When did you first become interested in STEM and coding?
I attended McKinley Technology High School in Washington DC. All students have to choose an aspect of STEM for an academic track. I chose technology based simply on the fact that I loved my iPhone and iPad at the time. But I didn’t become truly interested until I had a Microsoft internship in the AthleTech Division my senior year. My team successfully used coding to create a gaming app.
 
Tell us about your book. Is there a specific audience whom you think will benefit from reading the book? If so, how?
Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code is a children’s chapter book. The main character, Sasha, is a super smart, 10-year old, African-American girl, who lives in Washington, DC. Sasha decides to give a summer coding camp a chance. Sasha’s mom, a Software Developer, gives her a unique formula to help her remember how to code. Despite the formula, Sasha encounters challenges with getting her code to work on the first day of camp and gets frustrated. She must use problem-solving skills to figure out what to do. This book is based on a lot of things I’ve experienced but through the eyes of a 10-year-old. I hope the book will inspire girls to pursue opportunities in STEM because I see first-hand how underrepresented women and girls are in this area.
 
Where do you see yourself after graduation? Is there a specific career path that you aspire to?
I plan to develop an education technology startup that provides students with the skills needed to excel in school and life. I also want to further develop the characters in my book with other projects. Finally, I will continue the movement to get more underrepresented people into STEM.
 
Any advice for other Lubin students who are interested in STEM?
If you are interested in STEM, you have to be very disciplined and determined. It requires a lot of focus, studying, and practice. Being clear on what your mission is and how you will use the skills is key. Combining STEM with social justice is what keeps me motivated. I literally want to change the face of STEM.
 

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