What first sparked your interest in programming/tech?
My professor at GWU sparked my interest in programming. He taught his classes from the
perspective that anyone could learn to program and succeed. I’m still so inspired by him every
What is your specialty?
I specialize in Java and Android development.
What was your first application?
My first application was a bank ATM simulator. The user had to enter a PIN
(which was hard coded into the app). Once logged in, they could view balance, withdraw, or
Out of all of your projects, which are you the most proud of? Why?
I’m most proud of my implementation of Jeff Bonwick’s slab allocator in C, which I built
for my Advanced Topics in Operating Systems. I’m most proud of it because it was one of the
biggest challenges of my masters program— I had to read Bonwick’s research on the slab allocator
and implement the API described in his paper. It required not only an understanding of operating
systems, but also thorough comprehension of advanced C constructs. It took me over a month to
What are your professional goals?
My professional goals are to write code that had a positive impact, teach and inspire
others to code, and to benefit the autism community.
What challenges have you faced, as a woman in tech?
In school, I experienced discrimination and hostility from professors, both as an
American woman and the only student with disabilities in my masters program. I was constantly
made to feel as though I didn’t belong, even when I was the top student in my classes.
Luckily, the students were accepting and inclusive (they always strived to work with the
hardest working students, regardless of gender).
What advice can you give to women and men that are looking to get into the field?
My advice is that as you’re learning, don’t get discouraged if you come across a topic that doesn’t make sense right away. This is going to happen. Keep going through the learning material. Don’t skip ahead. Instead, try to find another tutorial on the subject (YouTube is a great place for free tutorials). If it doesn’t make sense right away, try memorizing the material for now. Comprehension will come in good time.
Robyn Silber wearing her Coding Commanders
Full Stack Flawless T-shirt