inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Alexa Francis

“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey

Happy Saturday Reigners! Meet Alexa Francis from Cal Poly. Read on to see how she was surrounded by software engineers, what she does at Apple, and how she can’t choose just 1 technical challenge.

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I grew up in Silicon Valley in a family of 4 software developers, but I thought I was different until my senior year of high school. My mom finally convinced me to try coding and I fell in love instantly. I majored in Software Engineering at Cal Poly, cheered competitively for Cal Poly for my first 3 years, became a member Chi Omega Fraternity for 4 years, was an active member and officer in the wakeboarding club, vice president of Women Involved in Software and Hardware for 2 years, as well as being very involved with many other clubs and my department. My 3rd year, I entered in Cal Poly’s blended 4+1 masters program so I graduated after 5 years with my BS in Software Engineering and my MS in Computer Science. Since graduation, I had the opportunity of traveling around Europe and Australia for 6 months before starting my full time job at Apple. These days, my hobbies involve traveling, hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, and anything that involves water or an adrenaline rush.

Favorite website / app:
Website: obviously stack overflow
App: currently Instagram, but it’s always changing

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
My mother inspires me every day. She is one of the smartest, creative, and hardest working people I know. I have gained so much life knowledge from her throughout growing up but most importantly, her courage to push through the condescending men in her graduate education, work harder and succeed in spite of them.

Song that makes you want to dance:
TSwizz Shake it Off is a riot.

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
To pick one technical challenge that you’ve faced and overcome means you haven’t faced enough. I couldn’t pick just one. They come every single day, numerous times per day! Some are harder to figure out than others and might take longer but they all will be solved. If I had to choose one that sticks out in my head, most recently, my thesis project was a very large, year-and-a-half long technical challenge. The way I overcame it: persistence and asking questions.

Ideal Job:
Realistically, I am working at it. I am in a software development rotational program for my first two years at Apple where I get to work with different teams, in different positions for 6 months each. I am loving being able to try out more areas of work.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Network, don’t underestimate yourself, don’t give up, and use your resources.


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