#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Shelby Bice

“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” — Anne Frank

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m actually majoring in both computer science and theatre. So I’m constantly juggling coding projects and rehearsals, and I always get weird looks when I tell people that I’m also majoring in theatre, since there isn’t really any overlap with computer science.  But both majors require me to be creative, so I think they go well together. Right now I’m in the final rehearsals for Rice University’s Visual and Dramatic Arts Department’s production of Julius Caesar.

What # would define your life journey?

When I started college, I was sure I was going to major in materials engineering and had everything planned out, from the extracurriculars I would be involved in to the research opportunities I would apply for. I took a computer science class for fun and ended up liking it much more than my materials engineering class, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Then, I got offered a software development internship at Spiceworks, and I realized that I wanted to major in computer science instead. I’ve realized that just because you plan for something to go one way doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily end up on that path-that sometimes you have to let new experiences “disturb your inertia” and take you in a totally different direction.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
When I struggling with whether or not to change my major to computer science, there were some upperclassmen, several of them women, who took the time to talk to me about classes, internships, and what it was like to be a woman in computer science. It made me realize that you don’t need a mentor who is years ahead of you in their career, though that can be really helpful. They showed me that a mentor can be any age, at any stage in their life, and they inspired me to volunteer to mentor two freshman in computer science this year through CSters, a club for women in computer science.

Song that makes you want to dance:
“I’m Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles. It’s a great song even if you aren’t getting over a break-up!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
It’s hard to balance two totally different majors. Sometimes I wonder if I should be devoting the time I spend in rehearsals and acting to picking up more skills that would be valuable on a technical resume, and I have to be careful about how I budget my time so that I’m able to complete all of my assignments, learn lines, etc. But at the end of the day, I want to be focused on being a part of creating things that are valuable to me. I accomplish that through both computer science and theatre, and I feel like my life would be incomplete without both.

Ideal Job:
I’ve learned not to plan too far into the future, because you never know what life is going to throw at you or how your interests will change. Right now I’m really interested in learning about machine learning and language processing, so I think it would be really cool to be working in that area in ten years. Additionally, I hope to be acting or creating costumes for a theatre in my spare time.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I’ve found that I’m much happier if I’m focusing my effort on producing good work rather than checking off another accomplishment on my resume or getting a certain grade. If you’re concentrated on what kind of value you can bring to a project or a performance, that effort will get noticed.

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