15-year-old girl sees void, publishes coding book for kids

As a freshman at Paramus High School, Danielle Park took one look around her AP Computer Science Principles class and saw a huge void.

"There was this really overwhelming feeling because I noticed the classroom is so male-dominated," Park said.

Park, now a sophomore, was also inspired to make the subject she loves more accessible for everyone. So at 15, she became an author.  

"I decided that I'm going to create a book that's going to be gender-neutral," Park said, "so that anyone passionate to learn can just pick up my book and start at a very young age learning computer science."   

Park's self-published book on computer science fundamentals came out in April. It is titled "Under One Condition: An Introduction to Computer Science Principles and Programming in Python."

"I really wanted to reflect what the high school curriculum is like in computer science so that students who get my book can really prepare to excel in high school," Park said, "and really feel confident in their computer science abilities." 

For six months, Park spent a few hours a day on top of her coursework developing the book, which even included designing the graphics. But she did get an assist from her younger sister, Sophia.  

"I did let her edit my book because I wanted a middle schooler's perspective. She's so enthusiastic about it," Park said. " I'm so excited to see what kind of change and impact she's going to make on the world in the future."

Park founded a nonprofit called Bergen CodeHers and through it will teach an eight-session summer boot camp based on curriculum from her book, which retails for $9.95 on Amazon.

"I created my book to be affordable, understandable, and something that's going to reach young girls at a really young age. So I did this by creating my program based on the curriculum of my book," Park said. "And I also need my program free so that any girl in Bergen County can participate. Just inspiring and helping even one person their journey means so much to me." 

As for Park's journey, which is only beginning, she somehow manages to find time to lead her school's STEM club and recently organized the first science fair.