“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I own “Snap Web Development,” a small web and mobile application development agency. I graduated with a degree in software engineering in 2016. I also love helping women, girls, and underrepresented groups get involved with STEM.
Fun fact about me: Sometimes I like sewing and I was a HUGE band geek in high school. I play the baritone and alto sax and did jazz band, regular band, and marching band.
Favorite website / app:
I love going on Dribbble to see what kind of ridiculously, phenomenal graphic designers exist. Being primarily a backend developer, I am always trying to improve my UI/UX skills and some of the work there is phenomenal.
For everyday, I am a big Google fan. I use Google Drive, Calendar, and Gmail to keep track of my entire life.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My favorite professor I had, Prof. Jim Sheusi. No matter what I made, even if it was just goofy, he would always tell me how awesome it was and was always positive. Even though I might have felt what I made was “dumb”, he inspired confidence in me that made me want to keep going. I think this is a huge part of being a mentor- being positive and supportive.
As I started to move on during university, I saw other students going through the same things I had. What I realized was positivity and inspiring confidence in other people are hugely powerful. In the amazing women in computer science group I was a part of, we always did that for each other and I think it allowed all of us to go after things such as internships and projects we would’ve normally been too afraid to.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
One thing I don’t feel gets enough attention is how economic disparity plays a huge role in how much or what quality of education a student receives. I know a lot of my fellow tech ladies and men who grew up in economically disadvantaged areas had a lot to catch up with once they got to college. I grew up with a single mom, 2 siblings, and lived well below the poverty line, but it didn’t really hit me until I got to college.
To be honest, there were tons of times where I wouldn’t know what on Earth was going on in my computer science classes or struggled hard in my math and science courses while other students did well, especially early on. It was material I had never remotely studied. I used to get upset with myself and think there was something wrong with me. It took a ton of coffee-driven nights at the library and battling intense imposter syndrome to finally get to the point where I felt okay and did well. And it paid off. I ended up graduating with a 3.96 out of 4.
I would also like to say that if there are any other ladies or men who are in college and battling the same things, the major thing you can do is reach out (please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org). Find a student women in technology group or minorities in computing group, find a mentor (I would *highly* recommend http://mentornet.org/), and only stick around friends and people who support you and make you feel good about you. One thing you have to realize is that success has very little to do with inherent intelligence and everything to do with effort. You can do it.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I see this a million times, but DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILING. GO AFTER IT ANYWAY. You will miss so many opportunities because of not feeling good enough. There are so many things I regret not going after.