inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Allie Lustig

This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.” – Diana Nyad
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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi I’m Allie! I’m a 4th year computer engineering major at Cal Poly, but I grew up in Seattle (coffee is very serious to me). I interned at Apple last summer and I will be returning as a software engineer after I graduate. I’m a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and am a die-hard dog lover. My dog’s name is Cindy who has the attitude of a Kardashian and I love her way more than she loves me.

What # would define your life journey?
#undefined since I’m only 21! I’m still pursuing my life journey.
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Favorite website / app:
Pinterest, since I love how easy it is for me to discover new things. I often wonder how anybody has ever attempted any sort of craft, project, or event without it! I also am a huge fan of Spotify, since I love listening to music and discovering new songs. I definitely use both of these websites/apps multiple times a day.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Grace Hopper definitely inspires me. Being a women in STEM still has its challenges now, so I can’t even imagine the stereotypes that she had to face back in her time. She has taught me the importance of taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone. My favorite quote of hers is “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” This encourages people to take initiative towards their own ideas even if you are unsure of its outcomes.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Anything Nicki Minaj or Beyonce. Or better yet, a song with both! It is not rare to find me rapping to “Flawless remix.”
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Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I think it’s safe to say that being a woman in tech is a challenge in itself. Even with today’s “Lean In” movement and the tremendous support and outreach for women in tech in industry, I still find myself challenged with this here in school. I came in with no prior programming experience or circuit knowledge, unlike many of my male classmates. Learning these difficult concepts in an environment where I was labeled with pre-defined stereotypes was often daunting. To worsen the situation, I joined a sorority my first quarter as a freshman which brought on a whole new wave of judgements.

In my first programming class, I was one out of two women. This patterned seemed to continue for the rest of my courses. In one of my EE labs, I actually ended being the only female. I recall my professor pointed out in front of everyone that I was wearing a dress and a bow in my hair to “stand up for my femininity”. When he was explaining how to do each lab, he would always use male pronouns and explain examples with “one guy does this, the other guy does this”. I reflected that these things would not have stood out to me if woman in tech was such a prevalent issue.

However, thanks to the Grace Hopper Conference, I have been equipped on how to handle these situations gracefully. A keynote speaker pointed out that many people are still adjusting to the shift in women in tech, and I think it’s important to understand that it is a gradual process. I don’t think this is a challenge that I personally have fully overcome, but I do try my best to fight it each day. I used to overthink questions I would ask, or ideas I would propose. I strive to let that go and not to let fear of stereotypes hinder my education and success. By supporting other women in tech, I feel that this challenge will eventually be irrelevant for everyone.
cThurston - Qualcomm Womens Collegiate Conference

Ideal Job:
Making awesome things that can better people’s lives.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
If I could give myself advice 4 years ago, I would say that persistence is key. Although at times being a women in tech is difficult, I found that hard work and dedication often pays off.
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