May 15, 2013 | Innovation, Science and Technology

The Only Girl in the Room

5 lessons from tech genius Jennie Lamere. (Mark Zuckerberg, move over.)

The Only Girl in the Room

Jennie Lamere, 17, made headlines when she won April's TVnext Hack—a coding competition held in Boston for the most innovative TV-related application. Lamere—who was the only female and triumphed over even professional developers—took the grand prize for her plug-in, which blocks all the tweets that spoil the newest episode of your favorite show before you've had time to watch it. Even more impressive: It took her only 10 hours to come up with the idea and write the 150 lines of code. Here, lessons from the tech world's next big thing.

She doesn't scare easily.
Lamere wasn’t cowed by the fact that all the other competitors were men, that many were pro's or that most people worked in teams while she competed solo. Oh yes, she was the youngest person there, too! When she walked into the event, "it was a little intimidating," she says, "but at the end of the day I think my app speaks for itself, and my gender doesn't play a part in people's opinion of the hack."

Her winning app, called Twivo (get it?), is already inspiring others.
Twivo allows users to block specific Tweets by typing in key words for a favorite show and saying how long they'd like the ban to last. "I have gotten emails from people saying how my story has affected them, which is awesome to read," she says. She's also inspired tech company Furious Minds to help her take her app to market.

No Y chromosome? No problem.
"Tech is such a fun field to get into," says Lamere. "Anyone can program! Gender and age aren't a factor in one's successes.  Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example."

Speaking of fun…
Lamere told Mother Jones that she likes building robots, hiking, and entering hackathons.

And the spoiler that inspired her…
One of her favorite TV shows is Dance Moms.