Written By: Sanjana Yeddula
Miriam Peskowitz found her passion for writing at a young age and even claims that her ability to simply sit still, focus, and write is her superpower. Today, her goal as a nonfiction writer is to share her knowledge with the world — more specifically, with people who have limited access to educational opportunities.
In 2019, Miriam published Code Like a Girl: Rad Tech Projects and Practical Tips, a book aimed to immerse young girls in the world of coding with step-by-step instructions. Many teachers across the nation use Code Like a Girl in their classrooms in order to support the ambitious minds who have shown an inclination towards technology. Miriam’s goal in writing this book was to inspire young girls to follow their curiosity, regardless of the difficulties they may face. She advises that challenges are inevitable but should never be the reason to give up on your curiosity. “Everything is hard,” she explained, “Intellectual work is hard. Mastering knowledge is hard. But that’s the reason to do it.”
Miriam also faced her fair share of obstacles throughout her career. She found that coding was not something that was compatible with the way her brain works and processes new information. “My brain works very horizontally, unlike a natural developer’s mind. I’ve had to study much harder than I ever thought in order to learn enough to share with others.” Throughout her path to receiving a higher education, Miriam felt like quitting millions of times but persevered to master software development. Because she chose to nurture her curiosity instead of giving up, Miriam has been able to change the lives of many young girls who would have found it difficult to break into the field of technology.
Miriam claims the best part of her work is the process of taking an idea, pouring as many hours of researching, writing, and editing as humanly possible, and seeing the end result. In fact, she even compares her life as an author to her interests in coding: “[Writing] is like when I code now — you have an idea, and many hours you later, you got something that works, and it’s the biggest thrill in the world!”
Miriam believes the key to helping girls overcome challenges in the STEM field is to overcome sexism and bias first. “The most challenging part is that it can hit you from side angles when you least expect it.” She believes the way to battle the issue of sexism is through finding allies and developing as many connections as possible — male and non-binary individuals included. She believes that these relationships are what will get you through any issues you may encounter. When Miriam herself was in graduate school earning her Ph.D., there were 200 men and only five women in her program. She and the other girls promised each other that no matter what, they would support one another and get through the program together. With the help of this support system, they were able to successfully ensure that no one was left behind at any stage.
Today, Miriam continues to share her love for writing and female empowerment with the world. She spends her day to day life researching, editing, and of course, writing.