“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder
Happy Thursday Reigners! Meet Kelsey Flores, a junior at USF. Read on to see how Kelsey found her way to CS from medicine, how her family has supported her, and why it’s so important to pursue what you love.
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I was born and raised in the East Bay of Northern California, so I have seen firsthand how much the tech industry has impacted the Bay Area, but more specifically, San Francisco. I am a junior at the University of San Francisco and am majoring in Computer Science. I actually always thought that I would become a doctor, but after my first semester of college as a Biology major, I realized that the passion just wasn’t there. My aunt who works in cyber security came to stay with us for a couple weeks during that winter break. She told me a little bit about what she does, what it’s like to work in the tech industry, and how much of an impact the tech industry has on our daily lives. At that point, the only knowledge I’d had about programming and what it is was what I had seen in the movie The Social Network. I decided to give it a shot and registered for an introductory class in Computer Science. I fell in love. Before that point, I didn’t realize how much I would love writing programs and solving technical problems. Since then, I’ve completed all of the Computer Science introduction classes, I’ve attended Grace Hopper in Houston, I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit and tour Google and Microsoft, and I’ve gotten to meet some incredibly supportive and inspiring people along the way. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m so excited to see what the future has in store for me.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
My parents are my inspiration. I know it’s such a cliche answer, but it’s my only answer. My family has struggled for a long time, and my parents sacrifice so much every day – time, money, energy, sleep, everything. They are the most hardworking people I know, and they teach my sisters and I by example. My mom has taught me to always put family first and to always have their back. My sisters and I call her the “Energizer Bunny” because when she’s not working, she’s taking care of us and vice versa. My dad is the definition of hard work and perseverance. He sacrifices everything he has to make sure that we’re taken care of.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Any One Direction song can make me dance. My mom and I have choreographed dance moves for almost all of their songs.
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
There isn’t one particular technical challenge that I’ve faced since I’m still a student and I’m still learning something new every day. But because I am still fairly new to this, there have definitely been times in my classes when I’ve felt challenged and discouraged. In times like these, it really helps to talk to family, classmates, and professors who encourage me and have faith in me. I also remind myself that everyone who is successful in the tech industry today has faced the same challenges that I’m facing and overcame them. If they can do it, so can I.
My ideal job would be to work as a software engineer at any company at the forefront of the tech industry today.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
The advice I have for other women would be to find what you really love to do because if you really love what you do, then every second, every ounce of energy, and every bit of hard work you invest into it will be worth it.