A dozen high school girls are attending a new seven-week program called Empowered to learn to code websites, but their instructor isn't much older than they are.

Anjali Chadha could program computers and build websites by the time she was 9-years-old.

“I built an arsenic sensor,” she said. “So it detects concentrations of arsenic in drinking water.”

Now at 14-years-old, she's so advanced she can teach others how to do the same thing. 

“This [program] was created by a high school junior,” said Mary Tapolsky, the Director of University of Louisville Foundation's Nucleus, which helps local start-ups. 

“[Participants are] learning web development and design skills,” Chadha said. “Women business owners and minority business owners need to be better equipped with technology skills.”

The girls are learning to build websites for real businesses.

“You can come in barely knowing what a computer is, and then hopefully by the end of the program, these girls are going to know exactly what a business is going to need,” Chadha said.

Chadha is one of the instructors, along with a teacher from Mayor Greg Fischer's SummerWorks program.

The girls will get hands-on experience coding and hear from guest speakers like Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton. Part of the classes are at the U of L Foundation's iHub space on South Floyd street.

“I just think it's awesome she used her time and energy and abilities to pull this together,” Tapolsky said. “She put the right program in place and made it a great program for high school women.”

Chadha said she's trying to build a professional career out of her love for computer science and empower other women to find their niche.

“Once you find your niche inside the huge field that computer science is, you can really learn to love it," she said. "And from there, you can just run with it.”

To sign up for Empowered, email Chadha at anjalichadha11@gmail.com.

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