Happy Monday, Reigners! We’re excited to highlight Bethany, a natural born teacher (and currently a TA at her school, UPenn)! It’s always interesting to find out more about someone, and I see a correlation between those who did sports competitively and having great drive in life, which is definitely the case with Bethany. I’m most impressed by the knowledge she’d impart and what an otherwise small moment in life has taught her!
Tell us a little about yourself along with a fun fact.
Hi, my name is Bethany Davis and I’m a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Computer Science with a minor in Consumer Psychology. I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio.
On campus, I’m a Teaching Assistant for Penn’s introductory computer science course. I also participate in the branch of student government that brings in guest performers and plans concerts for the rest of the student body.
Fun fact #1: I used to be a competitive figure skater.
Fun fact #2: At the end of high school, I spent 2 weeks shadowing chocolatiers at a local chocolate factory.
What # would define your life journey?
#AdventureIsOutThere – I love to travel and somehow I’ve managed to visit 20 cities in and outside the U.S. just since the beginning of 2015. But for me it’s also about trying to frame banal tasks as adventures to make them more enjoyable. When I bring the same spirit and excitement that I felt during my trips to Guatemala or Colorado to a research project or a trip to the grocery store, it makes day-to-day life seem a lot more fun. I also chose this hashtag because Up is one of my favorite movies!
Favorite website / app:
My favorite app right now is definitely Snapchat. It always brightens my day when my sister sends me pictures of her dog, and I love being able to see what’s going on with my friends at other schools or in other countries.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Shut up and Dance by WALK THE MOON. I mean, even the title of the song is telling you to dance.
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
My biggest challenges related to computer science are through my work as a TA. It’s an entry-level class so I teach a really diverse group of students: everyone is coming from different backgrounds and everyone is taking the class for a different reason, and everyone learns differently. It’s hard to take all the course material, condense it into hour-long pieces, and then present it in a way that is accessible and relevant to everyone. Also, when I’m helping a student debug some code, it’s always a challenge not to point out their mistake immediately, but instead guide them towards discovering that mistake on their own by encouraging them and asking the right questions.
Any role in which I’m working on a challenging problem and having fun doing it. I think my ideal job also involves being able to work with a really wonderful team of people. Whatever I’m doing, I want to find a way to incorporate computer science education because it’s something I’m really passionate about and something I enjoy. If I weren’t pursuing a career in software engineering, I would probably want to open my own bakery.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Always find a way to keep moving towards your goals. I learned this piece of wisdom from an Uber driver this summer while I was interning in New York City. We were stuck in rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon and I was trying to get to the airport. We’d spent about 15 minutes waiting at the same intersection and I was starting to get worried that I would miss my flight. But instead of waiting helplessly for the traffic to clear up, the driver decided to try inching around the corner onto a different street. His logic was that any sort of forward progress would be better than continuing to stand still. Even though it involved a detour, we ended up getting to the airport in time and I made my flight. I still think about that moment whenever I’m feeling stuck or discouraged—any sort of movement, even the smallest milestone or accomplishment, will put you miles ahead of everyone who isn’t taking any action at all.