#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Patience Shyu

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior studying computer science at the University of British Columbia.

Favorite website / app:
Google Calendar. And Pinterest for my recipes!

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My research supervisor and prof, Gail Murphy. Gail is one of the most amazing scientists I know. Wicked smart, super down-to-earth, probably the most famous academic in her research area (software engineering) — and she makes it look easy! I’m always really inspired by how well she manages her time with technology like Google Calendar, and I’ve learned a lot. It’s an incredibly important and useful skill!

Song that makes you want to dance:
You make my dreams come true – Hall & Oates. Anything Prince! ABBA — that goes without saying.

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago, and she passed away later that year. That’s definitely been the hardest periods of my life, and it forced me to think about what was truly important to me. Having overcome that, there aren’t a lot of things that scare me anymore! You don’t know how strong you are until everything around you is falling apart and you have to hold yourself up.

As a computer scientist, I face lots of challenges everyday: big-picture software problems posed by my professors, programming problems my students show up with during office hours, tooling problems I run into when I’m working on my research. To be honest, I find these types of problems comforting — I’ll sit down with a cup of tea and quiet time to think them through, one step at a time. The awesome thing about coding problems is that there’s (usually) a clean solution, but real life pretty much never works out that way.

Ideal Job:
I have no idea — I’ve never been good at planning out my life so far in advance! All I know is that I love solving problems — from finding the right questions to ask, breaking it down into bite-sized pieces, to ultimately creating the most suitable solution. No wonder I love coding so much! Hopefully I’ll still be doing something that allows me to wear my detective hat

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Be brave. Be adventurous! Notice when someone is kind, going out of their way to help you, and respond in kind. One of my favourite quotes comes from the French poet Sylvain Tesson — “To live is to make your dreams’ souvenirs” (roughly translated). What are your dreams? Figure it out and start collecting.

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