“It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it. Sometimes you’ve got to blast through and have faith.” – Emma Watson
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Gender Studies. If you know me, you know I’m super passionate about advancing women in STEM–in terms of representation, making the space more comfortable, and creating a stronger community. I help organize FemmeHacks (an all women hackathon), I created a peer mentorship program for women in CS at my university, and I started an outreach program with Google’s igniteCS to teach computer science to students from under-resourced middle schools in Philly. I’m interested in front end development and this summer I’ll be working at Apple. Fun fact: I’m the first (and hopefully not last!) person at Penn to double major in gender studies and computer science.
What # would define your life journey?
#YaasKween because you gotta celebrate; the longer the “yas” the better, my friends.
Favorite website / app:
Instagram for sure. Such a beautiful mix of art and social media.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Do I have to pick one? I’m inspired by so many women who surround me. My parents taught me to be vocal in standing up for what I believe in, my friends taught me to love infinitely, and all my fellow ladies in CS that I’ve met along the way taught me that all the effort is worth it. All the late-night study sessions pay off in terms of technical knowledge, organizing events for women in CS pays off when I see how excited the participants are, and they’ve taught me how to give back in meaningful ways. These ladies have been the best technical teachers and mentors I could ask for!
Song that makes you want to dance:
Lose Control by Missy Elliot has always done it and probably always will.
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
There is always some kind of technical challenge I’m dealing with, and there probably always will be. Whether it’s homework or a side project or an internship, I’m often feeling out of my comfort zone with CS. But that’s a good thing! My best advice is to do your research first and then ask a lot of questions. I’ve noticed many of my women CS friends find it hard to ask for help because none of us wants to admit we’re not naturally CS geniuses. It’s important to break that stigma and honestly it’ll save us all a lot of time and stress. That being said, always do your research first! Stackoverflow to the rescue, amirite.
Contributing meaningful work at a place that’s making meaningful change. Something that involves making the world a safer, more equal place. Who knows what that will mean in ten years, but it better not mean that I’m still fighting for women in STEM.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Be honest, vocal, and supportive as often as you have the energy to do so. Being honest lets other women know that we’re all in this together, being vocal lets you describe what isn’t working for you and reminds us all of what we’re working for, and being supportive lets others do the same.