One of the tech world’s youngest and most impressive female leaders passed away this week, following complications from an epileptic seizure. Arfa Karim was just 16 years old, but had already served as a Microsoft certified professional for seven years, which means she was programming and developing computers. The Pakistani teen was the youngest person ever to be certified, receiving her certification in 2005 at the age of nine. The child prodigy piqued the interest of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who invited Karim and her family to visit the company’s Redmond, Washington, campus. In fact, Gates paid for Karim’s hospital stay, and had wanted to move her to the United States for further treatment, but doctors felt that her condition was too delicate for her to be moved.
Though other youngsters have since also become certified in the Microsoft developer program, Karim was the first. She was also noted for her emotional intelligence. At 10, she told interviewer Todd Bishop, “If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind. If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”
At the time of her death, she was reportedly working on a project for NASA. [Huffington Post]