“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” – Arnold Glasow
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I am currently a junior Computer Science major, with a Neuroscience and Math minor, studying at Texas A&M University. I fell in love with computer science my senior year in high school, and haven’t looked back! This summer I’ll be doing my third internship with Microsoft on the Emerging Devices in Office team and I couldn’t be more excited. Ready to make cool stuff! My other two loves are music and gymnastics, as I have been playing the flute for I think 10 years now, and doing gymnastics for 14. I’m in the symphonic winds here at Texas A&M and also compete on our club gymnastics team.
Fun fact: I once hacked my wii just so I could get my grass back in Animal Crossing: City Folk XD
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
I love reading responses on Quora; it’s so cool to see people taking time out of their day to create intelligent, informative responses to people they don’t even know.
I also recently got Amazon’s rather new Alexa in the form of the Echo Dot and I always listen to audio books on it, set alarms, ask the weather, get some news, etc. But the coolest thing about it is that it’s still developing. There is a lot of potential for programmers to make new ‘skills’ (similar to apps on a phone), as there are a lot of functionalities that could be improved/created.
More: Goodreads (app/website), Krebs on Security (website), Buddhify (app), Udemy (app/website)
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My high school computer science teacher, Cynthia Gallatin. Without her, I don’t know if I would have found this field as soon as I did. She convinced me to join my high school programming team, which as you can imagine was a highly masculine environment, and she even organized a district-wide girls programming competition. While I was aware from my high school experiences that computer science was a male-dominated field, I never felt excluded and a lot of the reason why was because of her. I internalized her no-nonsense attitude, and the way she treated her students equally, so I didn’t feel as though my gender had anything to do with my performance. The way she carried herself was inspiring, and I learned that we don’t have to make excuses for being a women. We should only be concerned with what we can learn and what we can do to code a better world.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
The biggest technical challenge I’ve experienced was my freshman internship at Microsoft, which incidentally was the most fun I’ve had programming as well. I was delayed in starting the internship due to the Texas A&M Symphonic Winds going to Ireland to play at the beginning of the summer, and so I came in a week after the other interns on my team got there. I was also the youngest intern on the team, having only a year of college under my belt, and I was thrust into this environment that I had never experienced before. I was expected to pitch ideas for Bing Third Party Widgets, and implement them, as this was a special program that combined program management and software engineering roles to give you a breadth of experience.
I turned to what I knew and was passionate about: music. Originally I wanted to create a generalized tuner widget, but after some more design work it boiled down to a guitar tuner (based off of statistics and ad traffic). It was the most fun I had ever had coding, even through the first dreadful code review of my career that had, I believe, 13 iterations. However, shortly after my internship ended my work made it into production and it is alive and well on Bing today! I learned that I don’t have to keep my career separate from my hobbies, and became more enthralled with this field because of it.(https://www.bing.com/search?q=guitar+tuner)
My ideal job is something that I can look forward to every day. I haven’t yet narrowed it down to a specific area of interest, there are too many that I find fascinating, but I know that to be challenged!
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
There is a lot of pressure, especially for women, to take on all these roles and expect more from yourself than is reasonable. I’d like to remind the women here, and myself honestly, to be kind to yourself. It is okay to say no. It is okay to fail. Your journey does not have to look like everyone else’s and that is actually awesome. We are all unique, we all take different paths, and we all have different strengths. It can be beneficial to take responsibilities off your plate. Just like with usability versus security, there often is a tradeoff for progress in your career versus your mental health, and it is important that every once in a while we take a look around at our lives and make sure we are happy and healthy.