inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Amanda Sopkin

Tell us a little about yourself along with a fun fact.
I am a homegrown Colorado girl living in Illinois against my own will (just kidding, Illinois is okay). I love spending time outdoors hiking, sun­bathing, mountain biking, and/or playing with my 5 younger siblings. Fun fact: I am really interested/terrified of sharks. I love reading about new shark trivia. ­­

What # would define your life journey?
The hashtag #tryitout defines my life. I stumbled into computer science by taking a programming class and came to really enjoy the problem­solving process of writing code. Since then I have ended up with many opportunities I never expected. For example, I joined Engineers without Borders as a freshman not knowing how a computer science student could get involved and ending up traveling with an Engineers without Borders team to Ntisaw, Cameroon (in Western Africa) this past May.

left: her trip to Cameroon; right: her 3 youngest siblings (no relation to fish)

left: Checking out a waterfall in Cameroon; right: Teaching students in Cameroon

Favorite website / app:
My favorite app is definitely Spotify. Music is a big part of my life and I find it really helps me with most aspects of my day. I need music to work out, relax, and get pumped up. I love waking up to my new Discover Weekly playlists and listening to the songs my friends enjoy. I think it’s really cool how Spotify can suggest tracks across different genres, rather than just picking out one kind of music that I like.

­­Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
My mom inspires me all the time. She is a real­ life badass taking care of five children at home with different passions, quirks, and annoying habits. She constantly reminds me to let things go­­! am working on focusing on living my life in the moment and forgetting about mistakes I made in the past and things that I need to worry about for the future.

­­Song that makes you want to dance:
There’s this eurodance project called Harajuku that does really different remixes of popular songs. I really like their remix of Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas.
Amanda as a shark on Halloween

Technical challenge that you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
This summer I worked with a team to hook up Intel’s 3d RealSense camera to different robots. We needed to connect the robots to the gesture recognition aspect of the camera so that we could trigger different robot movements with the camera. For one of the robots we sent coordinates detected by the camera in real time, but the other robot could not move fast enough to synchronize its movement with the coordinates it was receiving. Eventually we decided to create triggers based on specific gestures (like the movement of a wrist from left to right) and link these triggers to predefined dance routines for the robots.

Ideal job:
I want to be a software engineer who gets to work with people a lot. I think it would be fun to work on client­facing features and get to hear users’ feedback regularly.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. In the classic words of Hannah Montana “Nobody’s perfect” and pretending to be above mistakes will only make life painful. Other people make mistakes too and they will relate to you better if you are familiar with your own vulnerabilities.

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