Coder, accessibility advocate, creative force
Anna Miller has big dreams for her future, from computer science to writing to art. And at 12 years old, she’s already well on her way to achieving them.
But her true passion is coding—a skill she first discovered at the Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore. Now, her goal is to inspire a similar passion for coding in others. And her reason is simple: when people from diverse perspectives and points of view learn to code, it has the power to change the world for good.
"We all have different perspectives to share—our backgrounds, our genders, our unique abilities. These all help shape the way we view different obstacles, and that makes more creative solutions."
- Anna Miller
It’s a reality that Anna understands from her own life. Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI)—a disorder that causes bones to break easily—Anna has experienced the many ways that navigating the world is often more complicated, less convenient, and sometimes even more hazardous for people who use wheelchairs or with limited mobility. But she sees a very real way that coding can play a role in solving that challenge.
“I want to create an app where it’s easy to find the accessible entrance or an elevator … something that will really change how people live,” says Anna.
That’s why Anna is working to inspire other kids to learn coding, too. In partnership with WE.org and Microsoft, she recently helped lead a Coding with Minecraft class at the Digital Harbor Foundation, where she first learned to code. She hopes it empowers them to pursue it as a passion beyond their schools and tackle problems that are important to them. Because as Anna believes, coding isn’t just for an elite few—it’s for everyone who’s passionate about solving challenges in a creative, proactive way.
“I know that people might look at me and think that because I’m small, or young, or a girl, or use a wheelchair, that I can’t do certain things. But guess what? They’re wrong,” says Anna. “That’s why I love coding, because it leads to equity. I believe that anyone can learn how to code.”
Anna working to plan her Minecraft workshop alongside her first coding teacher, Miss Ashley, at the Digital Harbor Foundation.
Coding is creative, fun, and most importantly collaborative. Anna teams up with students during her Minecraft workshop to build a digital space.
A “behind the scenes” look at coding.
As Anna looks to the future, she’s still figuring out the path she’d like her life to take. She’s passionate about many things beyond coding, including chess, photography, writing, and art. But Anna believes that learning to code provides a valuable STEAM foundation that can help kids like her excel later in life, regardless of what careers they want to pursue.
“[Coding] is actually really fun and collaborative,” says Anna. “I want other kids to see that coding can be fun and that it’ll help no matter what we decide to do in our future.”