#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Jenny Mandl

View Jenny’s Medium site!

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I am a junior studying Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park. I teach yoga, and I love to do cooking experiments and laugh until I can’t breathe. A fun fact is that I can do a forearm balance and recite the first 150 digits of pi! (not at the same time)

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
Twitter is my favorite website because I can reach out to people I couldn’t otherwise connect with. My favorite app is Pocket, it allows me to save articles from the internet to read later and it recommends things for me based on what I read. It is AMAZING.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My dad is my number one source of inspiration. The knowledge he has given me through unconditional support is never never never give up, always show up no matter what, and figuring out how to find value in every situation. He’s a goofball ‘let’s do it’ glass-full kind of guy and it has been so impactful on my career and my life.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Anything by Shawn Mendes!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I started college, I was not confident that I would succeed in engineering. It seemed like I was surrounded by people who had been building complex things from a young age and that I was at a huge disadvantage. The first semester was incredibly challenging, especially because I perceived others to have so much more knowledge than me that I feared I would look dumb if I asked questions.

I remember the first time I saw one of those “way more experienced” students at the library struggling into the late hours of the night with the same homework I was having trouble with. It really opened my eyes. This stuff was hard for everyone. With the realization that I wasn’t alone in my confusion, I gained a little bit of confidence in myself. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to start asking a few questions here and there.

When I started asking questions, things became easier. I can’t even count how many times I would just ask someone to explain something and end up saying to them “That’s it?!” These concepts were (still challenging) but much more simple than I had thought. I started to realize this doubt was all in my head. I had the first inkling of the feeling “hey… I can do this!”

So I started asking more questions. I started making lists in lecture of every single thing I didn’t understand, no matter how tiny it was. I went to office hours and talked about these questions with the professor. I went to my teaching assistants and practiced the things I had learned by playing role reversal and “teaching” them. This solidified the information in my brain.

What came next, I never expected

I started getting A’s on exams and beating the curve not by a few points but by leaps and bounds– we are talking entire letter grades.

I learned that it is so important and fun to ask questions and it changed the course of my whole career. Once I started asking questions, I never stopped and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Ideal Job:
Head of a disruptive and wildly creative innovation and design consulting firm.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Never let a question you have go unasked! It doesn’t matter if you can’t find a direct answer, some questions are just meant to spark discussion or exploration. That is a fun area to be in. Spark debate, do some research, and learn things outside of class.

And never never never give up. I promise– it’s worth it.

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