inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Amy Gottsegen

“No one changes the world who isn’t obsessed.” – Billie Jean King

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a Sophomore at Drexel University in Philadelphia studying Computer Science, and I’m the president of our Women in Computing Society. It’s pretty fun that I also DJ at my college’s radio station, WKDU 91.7FM!

What # would define your life journey?
Maybe 42? That is the meaning of life, right?

Favorite website / app:
My favorite app is CyclePhilly. It allows cyclists to compare their routes to try and find safest and fastest ways around the city, and it’s a product of a really neat meetup in my city called Code for Philly that bridges tech and social engagement.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
A huge influence on me as a woman in tech is my faculty mentor from a summer research experience, Dr. Gabriela Marcu. Not only did she help me decide to pursue graduate school, but she’s also a tremendous example of embracing femininity while projecting confidence.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Burning Down the House by the Talking Heads always has me bustin’ a move!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
The software I’ve been working on at my current internship has a central object that, when copied, must combine fields input by the user, fields inherited from its parent that can be changed, and those that are inherited but cannot be changed. Designing the database interactions for this was fairly tricky (we use PostgreSQL), but we ended up using a foreign keys to each copy’s parent and left outer joins across the same table to solve it!

Ideal Job:
Ultimately, I want my work to be in service to society– right now, I think I’d like to use data science to help form public policy. While the technology world has made tremendous strides in enhancing data collection, analysis, and interpretation, these advances are slow to reach the public sector– if they make it there at all. As a professional, I hope to work in bringing these advances to organizations that serve the people, where decisions are too often based on intuition or anecdotal evidence.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Too often when talking about stereotypes, the assumption is that stereotypes are generalizations one group of people make about another group. The reality is that everyone in a given society is powerfully influenced by stereotypes, including the groups that are their subject. Only after realizing how heavily I associated introverted males with competency at programming did I understand the source of my insecurities as a developer. For me at least, I only began to really grow as a technologist after embracing femininity as an essential component of my identity that is NOT mutually exclusive with tech smarts.

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