"Q&A With Sasha"
Book: Sasha Savvy Loves to Code
Author: Sasha Ariel Alston
Sasha A. Alston is an industrious, career-minded scholar at Pace University with a major in Information Systems. She is highly efficient with excellent technical, managerial, marketing, and organizational skills.
A proven leader, Sasha’s positive disposition, “can-do” attitude, and creativity make her a welcome participant in dynamic environments with vision and mission-oriented teams.
Sasha is also a leader in the STEM industry. With successful internships at Microsoft, EverFi, and the Department of Commerce, she is a sought-after speaker to encourage youth, especially girls to pursue STEM education and career opportunities.
1. What do you hope readers get from this book?
We use technology for social media, surfing the web, smartphones, and so on. Practically everything we use in our lives is based on coding so it’s important for everyone to at least know what it is and try to learn it.
Just like reading and math, I think it is an added literacy we will all need to know. If you are interested in not only exposing children to STEM but also teaching them problem-solving skills, the benefits of trying something new and overcoming challenges, this is the perfect book!
2. Is this book based on a true story? If not what made you write this story?
"Sasha Savvy Loves to Code" isn’t based on a true story but reflects some aspects of my life. A radio interview in high school inspired me to write Sasha Savvy Loves to Code because that is when I realized that everyone doesn’t know what coding is.
As I did more and more research, it was clear that I needed to write a book to inspire girls. My mom suggested that I should write a book but I’ve also been surrounded by lots of creative people in arts and writing throughout my life.
3. What got you into STEM activism?
I didn’t truly become interested in technology until I had a Microsoft internship in the AthleTech Division my senior year where coding was used to create a gaming app by my team. The internship was designed specifically to give students a real work experience.
Since then, I’ve had six internships and just started my seventh. In STEM-related classes and clubs, there are always very few women. More women role models are definitely needed so I became one myself.
In my book, the main character’s, Sasha Savvy’s, mom is a software developer. She exposes Sasha to coding. Sasha goes to a camp with her best friends to learn more. At the camp, women camp counselors and role models from the community speak to the girls.
4. What do you want to do within the STEM field in the future?
I plan to develop an education technology startup that provides students with the skills needed to excel in school and life that will include an app. I also want to further develop the characters in my book with other projects because I am interested in making it a series. Finally, I will continue the movement to get more underrepresented people into STEM.
"In STEM-related classes and clubs, there are always very few women. More women role models are definitely needed so I became one myself."
5. How did you balance school and writing a book?
During my freshman year in college, I made sure my classes were in the morning so I would have the remainder of my time to study, complete homework and work on the book.
6. What is the best book you have read in 2017?
"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
7. What is the best advice you have received on happiness?
To achieve happiness is to find comfort in oneself.
8. What was your writing process like for this book?
I didn't want to be a writer until my senior year in high school. I’ve always love to read but I didn’t truly become interested in writing until I knew I had a story to tell. Writing a book is a long process so it took me 2 years to complete it. If you are interested in becoming a writer, read a lot, do research on your topic and never give up!
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