inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Brittany Johnson

Happy Hump Day Reigners! Meet doctorate candidate Brittany Johnson from South Carolina who not only wants to get her degree but is interested in software engineering, artificial intelligence, and human factors research (phew, that was a handful)! Read on to see the quote that inspires her and how to keep going when faced with obstacles!

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a 5th year PhD student in Computer Science at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. I’m originally from Sumter, SC. My research interests include human factors in software engineering and artificial intelligence. I’m very passionate about my research but I am also passionate about outreach. Along with working towards my degree, I also try to make time to help in the community and encourage others, especially young women, to pursue Computer Science degrees and careers.

Fun fact: Nightmare Before Christmas is my all-time favorite movie! 🙂

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Deborah Plunkett, Senior Advisor for Equality, NSA
“Find people who care, no matter what they look like.” – words that have stuck with me since I met her.

Song that makes you want to dance:
The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I was building a prototype to analyze code repositories for specific code patterns. My analyzers worked, however, when I tried to analyze the repository and aggregate counts my numbers didn’t add up. I had just gotten back into the swing of writing Java code, so needless to say I hadn’t debugged code in a while. But I had a friend in the lab with me that was a debugging/Eclipse environment expert – I asked him to help me and he did. He sat down with me to show me the best way to use the debugger in Eclipse to find and fix my problem. To this day, I still use the debugger anytime something goes unexpectedly wrong with my code. There’s always value in numbers :).

Ideal Job:
Doing human factors in software engineering research and participating in outreach efforts – preferably somewhere near my family.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t be afraid to fail; with failure is growth. Don’t let the bumps along the way deter you from what you really want to do with your life. We all have to fail to know what success feels like (and enjoy it)!

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