Being Girl Powered: Shari Eskenas

October 27, 2020

I’ve enjoyed building things with electronics from an early age. In elementary school, I enjoyed “snap together” circuits and creating simple circuits on breadboards that lit up LEDs or spun a motor. It was so fun to combine electronic parts and watch the circuit come to life. But the real game changer for me was being introduced to microcontrollers in high school. It allowed me to create more sophisticated gadgets by adding intelligent control to my electronics projects. A microcontroller is a single chip that contains all the components of a computer, including a processor, memory, and input/output peripherals. It’s designed to be embedded within a larger system and programmed to perform specific tasks.

I was first introduced to microcontrollers at a weekend robotics program at a community college. We each got a small three-wheeled robot and programmed its microcontroller. We programmed it to zip around on the floor and avoid obstacles with sensors. I loved it! I started a robotics club at my high school and entered the Botball Robotics Competition. The task was to have a small robot pick up foam blocks and deposit them on designated areas of a board on a table. The robot’s microcontroller was programmed in the C programming language, which I didn’t have experience with at the time. There was a learning curve, but it was really fun!

I got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree with a specialization in digital and computer engineering. I worked as an electrical engineer before founding Sundae Electronics LLC with the mission of creating innovative and useful consumer electronics products for everyday life. I’m passionate about inventing.

I want to encourage kids and students of all ages to learn C programming so they can create their own useful electronics devices and robots! The C language is the most popular programming language in embedded systems! The Arduino is a microcontroller development platform that is popular with beginners and programmed with C syntax and constructs. Since textbooks with traditional code examples can be boring, I wanted to create a book that would have fun C programming examples and be as visually appealing as a nicely illustrated picture book.

I decided to create a unique picture book called A Day in Code - the story is written in code! The code in the book consists of simple C programs that represent situations in a continuous story about a fun-filled day. The full-page illustrations next to the code show the situations. In this way, the book provides code examples that are fun and relatable. It teaches fundamental programming concepts and C syntax. The programs in the book can be run on your computer using a C compiler (there are many free C compilers available online). The book can be found on Amazon and is available for pre-order.

Pre-order A Day in Code here!

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