“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi, I’m Teresa Luz Miller. I’m a freshman and research assistant at Montclair State University majoring in Computer Science with a plan to major in Business. Currently, I’m a Program Developer for ProjectCSGIRLS – a national middle school Computer Science competition for girls, with workshops around the country. As well as an organizer for CodeDay NY, a nation-wide event where student programmers, artists, musicians, actors, and everyone else can get together and build apps & games for 24 hours. I’m also a Girls Who Code alumni/ambassador and NCWIT State Award Winner and National Runner-up. A fun fact about myself: quiz me about a meme and I will undoubtedly know it.
What # would define your life journey?
#treatyoself. Everyone loves a little Parks and Rec and the hashtag #treatyoself is a warm reminder to work hard but take care of yourself at the end of the day! The characters Tom and Donna are the real MVPS for this golden piece of wisdom – it’s been keeping me stable especially with those mid-terms and finals coming up!
Favorite website / app:
It’s a tie between Github and Moodnotes. One is a website and the other is a mobile app. Moodnotes keeps track of your emotions throughout the day and checks up on you to unload any pent up negativity – it’s a great app to increase self-awareness and once again a great way to #treatyoself. Plus of course, who can live without Github and those satisfactory green boxes! [enter shameless plug here for my personal website as well]
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
There is not one source of inspiration but many. Everyone that has been a part of my growth and progress has inspired me to become even better and to challenge myself in new ways. Ranging from my Girls Who Code classmates to my teachers (shout out to Shur, Amritha, and Lynn) to my family members and mentors – I’ve been blessed to have such an amazing network behind me. Always keep progressing towards your goal, no matter how impossible or big they seem and soon enough you’ll be amazed with what you’ve accomplished.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Anything and everything. You could be Gregorian chants and I will still bust out some debatably sick moves.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Entering the tech field – which is already innately competitive – after being homeschooled all my life and with no real experience involving STEM, I felt extremely behind the curve and discouraged to try new things. I felt like everything I wanted to do was either impossible for someone like me to do or I would fail miserably and be too embarrassed to try again. Imposter Syndrome was a big buddy of mine back then. The way I eventually overcame those fears was to surround myself with a community that supported me. I became involved with #BUILTBYGIRLS and NCWIT – organizations that believed in people like me and actively helped out people like me. Over time, I began to understand and realize my value in the industry and embraced my ideas and sought out help and resources when I needed it. I went on to developing a video game from scratch, not knowing what a hackathon was to organizing one within 6 months, and co-founding an award winning chrome extension. Now, no matter whether I fail or succeed, I know I have those communities and encouragement to try again.
My dream/ideal job is to create things I’m passionate about and that will, in some way, impact someone’s life in a positive way. Whether it’s a #hackharrassment application or a robot that screams in different fictional dialects – if it touches someone, I will be over the moon. In 10 years, I see myself one step closer to world domination and hopefully someone who does their laundry on time.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Do what scares you. Take a leap of faith. Push your limits. Learn your worth. Reach out for help when you need it. You are amazing, talented, ambitious, and smart – now show the world what you’re capable of.