These Five AAPI Women are Making Waves in STEM

Girls Who Code
3 min readMay 1, 2024

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! 🎉 All month long, Girls Who Code is celebrating the history and culture of incredible AAPI leaders who are making waves in STEM.

Here are just a few you should know.

Angelina Tsuboi was raised by a single mother from Japan who struggled to learn English. At age 16, this inspired her to create Lilac, an app that helps users find resources such as childcare or housing and connect with translators to facilitate outreach to those resources

Tsuboi is also a pilot, and she built an app to get more women and people of color into flying. Angelina Tsuboi created Pilot Fast Track, an app that connects rising aviators with scholarships and opportunities.

Van Mai is credited with being the creator of one of the first female protagonists in gaming. Van was born in Vietnam and moved to the US as a refugee at the end of the Vietnam War. After dropping out of high school due to the language barrier, she took night classes to learn about tech and computer science. She later worked for Games By Apollo and created “Billie Sue,” one of the very first female game protagonists we have on record, and is the first named female protagonist to appear on home consoles in 1982.

Annie Vang is a self-taught coder who created a language app to preserve her Hmong heritage. After seeing how many Hmong Americans were no longer speaking their native language, this iOS app developer created HmongPhrases, an app that translates English into two Hmong dialects. Annie was born in a refugee camp in Thailand after over 300,000 Hmong immigrants were forced to flee to the US after the Vietnam War.

Featured in Vogue India, GWC alumna Trisha Prabhu is the founder and CEO of ReThink, a custom-built keyboard designed to prevent cyberbullying before it takes place. President Obama and the U.S. State Department invited Trisha to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, to showcase her work and share her story with other entrepreneurs, and soon after, ReThink was featured on ABC’s hit TV show, Shark Tank.

Now this is #WhatAGameDevLooksLike! Did you know that you can code a concert? Brenda Chen is an immersive media designer and XR artist who’s directed virtual concerts for Justin Bieber and John Legend. She also creates interactive installations and VR/AR experiences, works across the 3D asset creation pipeline, and writes codes for various interactions and tools.

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