#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Melanie Jane Pascual

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life..”
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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a sophomore at Middlebury College studying towards a double major in computer science & psychology, as well as a minor in education. I’ve been coding for over 3 years after participating in Girls Who Code and I’m a strong supporter in using technology for social good. Last year, I ran MIDDSTEAM, a STEM+Arts program for middle school girls. They participated in 15 workshops that allowed them to explore topics that ranged from neuroscience to virtual reality. This summer, I was a user experience and user interface intern at Bank of America in New York. Currently, I’m a she++ college ambassador for Middlebury and intern with the Office of Veteran Affairs as a mobile apps intern. I love participating in conferences and hackathons to learn new things and meet awesome people.

A fun fact is that I play rugby (even though I have a low pain tolerance & I’m clumsy).
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What # would define your life journey?
#figuringitout

Favorite website / app:
I don’t have a top favorite, but I love reading travel blogs and learning about other people’s experiences.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My psychology professor is both smart and caring, she’s helped me at low points in my college career and I’ll always be grateful. This semester, I took educational psychology with her and learned how to become a better learner, which has changed my life because I’ve been doing it wrong all along. She also taught me the importance of having a growth mindset over a fixed mindset, which has changed how I approach my education (and life!) completely.

Song that makes you want to dance:
How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravalho

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I’m a huge social justice advocate and one of the main reasons I loved code is that you can use it to help society. I lost track of why I liked technology when I first started college because it wasn’t as prevalent and I didn’t know anyone else who was as passionate and excited as I was. This all changed when I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration last year, I was inspired by everyone who was there and all the cool work everyone was doing that I remembered why I loved to code in the first place. Coding has so much potential to change the world for the better. It’s something I want to do because I like to make things and work towards social good projects.

Now, whenever I’m struggling in a computer science class or wanting for others to participate in coding outreach initiatives, I remember being in the room filled with literally thousands of women in technology and my passion is reignited.
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Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be at a company that uses technology for social good and challenges me to be a better person, coder, and learner.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Like many, I was one who always had a plan. Before I started college, I thought I figured out my entire life out and it’s crazy to see how much my plan changed. I never saw myself becoming fascinated with psychology, but my adolescence course changed that. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to have a set plan because there are experiences and opportunities that you wouldn’t notice because you’re so focused on your plan. You find yourself exploring new things that you never would have even thought you’d be doing. In my first year of college, I did so many things I never saw myself doing like studying permaculture in Puerto Rico or taking a course on gender roles in ancient greece and rome. Of course, having a plan is great and helpful, but be sure to still leave space to try new things out!
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