#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Charlotte McGinn

“Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.” – Mary D. Poole

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!

Hello! My name is Charlotte and I am going into my second year at UCLA as a Computer Science and Engineering major. Growing up, I always had loved math and science, so I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in those fields. I had my first computer science experience the summer after my sophomore year of high school when I attended COSMOS at UCSD. I fell in love with computer science after COSMOS, and went on that following year to co-found a FIRST Robotics Competition team at my high school so that I could share my passion for engineering with others. Now at UCLA, I have become very involved in our IEEE student branch and completed the introductory OPS project this past year. I was also a board member of our new women in tech club called WATT, and will be serving as treasurer for the upcoming school year. This summer, I am a Marketing Research Intern at Nordson ASYMTEK, where I am learning about how different parts of an engineering company are run.

A fun fact about me is that I really like to draw manga characters with copic markers! I’m not very good yet, but if you’re interested you can check out my art instagram! @char.lartte

What # would define your life journey?
This might be a little cliche, but I struggled a lot with my identity through adolescence. I really wanted to fit in with a “popular” friend group and molded my personality so that they would accept me, but being someone who wasn’t me was exhausting and stressful. Once I learned to be myself, I found friends who loved me for me and I was and I became a much happier person!

Favorite website / app:
Pokemon Go, of course! Growing up, I loved playing the Pokemon GameBoy and DS games, so this app definitely makes me feel like a kid again.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
To be honest, I struggled with this question for a few days and was unable to pick one particular person who inspired me the most. Rather, I am inspired by different groups of people in different ways. My UCLA friends and the NCWIT Aspirations Community inspire me with their successes, showing me what is possible if you try your hardest and follow your passions. My professors inspire me to stay motivated when the courses get hard with their enthusiasm and confidence in my abilities. Many women who have graduated and who are making an impact on the tech industry give me something to aspire to be one day. And of course, my parents keep me motivated and have taught me to keep moving forward even when I am challenged with obstacles. Many people influence and inspire me on a daily basis, so I don’t think it would be fair to just choose one person.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Boomerang by Miniature Tigers

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
This past year in university, I have had a difficult time adjusting to no longer being at the top of my class. High school was relatively easy for me and I pulled off straight A’s, and now I was struggling to make decent grades at UCLA. I was interested in the subjects that I was learning but I felt like my grades were not reflecting that. This was the first time I was challenged academically. I am still in the process of overcoming my adjustment to university learning, and my plan is to manage my time better, focus harder in class, and attend my professors’ office hours to ask questions and master the material.

Ideal Job:
Right now I am unsure if I am more interested in hardware or software. I think it would be really cool to work as a systems engineer in the robotics or aerospace industries and be part of a project that contributes to a greater good!

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. I think this is so important because I know that I have struggled with imposter syndrome partly because I tend to compare myself to others. Everyone’s abilities and accomplishments are dependant on a lot of factors, so it isn’t fair to compare yourself to someone with a completely different background than you. I guess my point is rather than feeling down from comparing yourself to “more successful” people, you should celebrate how far you have come and keep on improving!

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