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Student Stories

Senior Spotlight: Avni Barman

"I have witnessed firsthand the severe lack of women in tech. I've seen this as the president of USC Girls in Tech and as an engineer working at LinkedIn and Aeris." Senior Avni Barman is cracking the code for a brighter future for young women in tech. Here, Avni shares that a positive mindset is your greatest weapon and that perfect is the enemy of good…

What attracted you to the Academy?

During my college application process, I was really indecisive about what to major in. One part of me wanted to dive deeper into art and design while another part of me was interested in math and technology. When I discovered the Academy, I immediately knew it would be the perfect fit because it allowed me to pursue all my interests in one program.

Describe a passion project you’re currently working?

I am creating a program to connect female founders with teenage girls who would like to transform their ideas into viable businesses and become successful entrepreneurs one day. Currently, I am planning an entrepreneurship hackathon to select the first cohort of this accelerator program. My goal is to reshape the current landscape of gender disparities by instilling in young women an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of ownership to become the leaders of tomorrow.

What inspired the project?

I have witnessed firsthand the severe lack of women in tech. I've seen this as the president of USC Girls in Tech and as an engineer working at LinkedIn and Aeris. Women are severely underrepresented in technology and there are few women leaders to shift these numbers. One way we can come close to closing the gender gap is by raising young women to be entrepreneurs and leaders. Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, explains that our society teaches boys to be brave and girls to be perfect. For girls, this contradicts the bold mentality of starting a business, which stems from taking risks and embracing failure. If we can shape the minds of girls at an early age when they are forming their core beliefs, we can potentially tackle gender inequalities more effectively.

Avni Barman and Sandy Carter at the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 


Adriana Gascoigne inspires me. She not only founded the Girls in Tech nonprofit that empowers women every day, but has expanded it globally with 60+ chapters across North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and South America. She is definitely my role model and someone who I aspire to be one day.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?

“Whenever you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you are right.” ~Henry Ford

What advice would you give to a freshman?

Don’t be afraid to try everything. Don’t miss out on any opportunities because four years is a lot shorter than you think.

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I’ve been to Australia seven times.

What is one thing you’re parents taught you that you’d like to share?

A positive mindset is your greatest weapon for success.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Headphones, water bottle, gum, and definitely my laptop.

Favorite app or website?

Favorite class at USC and why?
Rapid Visualization was my favorite class at USC. We created art with a variety of unconventional mediums, including 3Doodler pens, cardboard, and magazines. For example, we created a 3D, four foot tall Stitch from the Disney movie “Lilo and Stitch” out of cardboard and spray paint.

Favorite way to de-stress:
Going for a swim.

Guilty Pleasure?

Eating at fancy brunch spots in Los Angeles.

Thank you, Avni!