Women Who Reign: Kayla Kasprak

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” – Indira Gandhi

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior Computer Science student at the University of South Carolina. I’m currently an intern for Boeing on the Lean+ CVQ Innovation team, where I work to implement emerging technology both in an enterprise environment and on the factory floor. Before Boeing, I worked full time in public libraries. I’ve always been passionate about books, but I’m especially invested in efforts provide equal access and bridge the digital divide.

I’m also a huge Harry Potter nerd. Seriously, my two dogs are named Kingsley and Luna.

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What # would define your life journey?

I recently attended Square Code Camp along with 19 other incredibly talented women. We spent a week getting to know Square leadership, touring tech companies, working on a hackathon project, and engaging in hands-on workshops on iOS, Ruby on Rails, design, security, and hardware. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life.

On the last day, we all had an opportunity to reflect on the week and write small notes to each other. One of my fellow Code Campers wrote that I was “unapologetic.” To my knowledge, this was the first time this word had ever been used to describe me. I was shocked. Did she forget the introverted, inexperienced person she was talking about? After my initial surprise, though, I just felt really proud. It’s not always easy being a woman in the tech industry. It can seem daunting to try to find that sweet spot between “too quiet” and “bossy.” I think it’s just important to remember that we all have valid (and unique) ideas and experiences that are worth sharing. Never apologize for that!

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Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
“We want to empower people to take action and make change and translate their passion into really doing something.” – Emma Watson, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Women

There were many lessons to be learned from Emma Watson’s impassioned #HeForShe speech at the United Nations, but this quote just stuck with me. I want to change the world and empower others to do the same.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Banquet by Bloc Party!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Working for Boeing has been an incredible experience. I’ve gotten to work on various projects and explore technology I didn’t even know existed. The biggest challenges I’ve faced on these projects are scalability and security. Sometimes what works on a small scale doesn’t necessarily translate to an enterprise-wide solution, and security is always our top priority. I’ve learned to embrace my sometimes annoying attention to detail, ask a lot of questions, and find a way around when we hit a roadblock.

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Ideal Job:
I have experience in technical project management with an emphasis on managing risks, scope, schedules, and resources, and I enjoy working on cross-functional teams to tackle intricate challenges. However, I’m also really passionate about software engineering and have recently become particularly interested in mobile development. Ultimately, I really just hope to contribute to meaningful, innovative solutions.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Never stop to think about what’s possible – just go do it. And when you make it, pay it forward. If there’s one quote that really stays with me, it’s this one: “Be who you needed when you were younger.” Consider the the role model you wish you had and go be her!

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