#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Brittany Crow

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa Parks

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
To begin with, I am all over the place! I’m a Computer Science and Cognitive Science double major with a minor in Dance; I’m on the Club Cross Country team and I’m in two dance companies on grounds at the University of Virginia. I’m now in my third year at UVA and have loved every moment of my time here. I have a curious spirit and I love trying new things, pursuing an odd (but beautiful!) conglomeration of interests, and, most of all, I love to inspire others with kindness and dedication to all that I do. I’m a Christian, and am truly thankful for all the blessings God has allowed me to explore and grow from! An additional fun fact is that I am a published writer- before I decided to major in CS, I was hoping to pursue a career in poetry or journalism.

What # would define your life journey?
#letitgo, and not just because I’m a Disney fan! I’ve invested myself in a lot of different identities: student, programmer, dancer, runner, female, human. It is easy for me—and I think at times for all of us—to get so caught up in society’s definition of a “perfect” owner of those identities. It’s important to be goal-driven, and to put your heart and soul into being the best that you can be, but it’s also important to remember that you can’t do everything, be everything, or have everything. You will mess up, and when you do it’s important to let go of the guilt of failure so that you can put all of your energy into positive growth and enjoyment of who you are and what you do.

Favorite website / app:
Pinterest! It’s such a simple idea to have a place where you look at things you like and organize them so you can look at them later. I find so many neat ideas and encouragement from here. Thanks for indulging me, Pinterest!

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My dad has been my inspiration for such a long time. He is a retired Lt. Colonel from the Marine Corp gone tech, now working as an Enterprise Architect at Microsoft. He has experienced so much and supported our family with everything he can give, and he remains humble and encouraging, always having time to take a call from me when I need advice. I learned how to distinguish what is important and what is not in life from him, and he has been a steady cheerleader for me pursuing what I am truly passionate for in a way that reflects who I am and how I want to make a mark on the world. In addition, he has revealed that no matter how tough things are or how serious you need to be to get a job done, laughter is vital to staying healthy!

Song that makes you want to dance:
I love music so much that there are at least 10 songs that instantly come to mind for this! I’d have to say that my most recent obsession however is “Africa” by Marcus Warner. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to take a listen! It’s very different from what I normally listen to (country, pop, and country) but I think for me that’s why I lose my breath when it comes on. I can’t help but get the choreography rolling in my head!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Last winter I started to contract migraines in high frequency. By spring there were weeks where I spent more days with a migraine than without one. After visiting multiple doctors, taking numerous tests, and trying more medications that I’d have liked, the problem is better, but still here. Migraines are not the worst health issue a person can have, but they certainly don’t make it easy to be busy, efficient, or simply present throughout my day. I’m thankful to say the problem has definitely been reigned in, but I am also thankful for all the frustration I had trying to navigate college as a student and a patient, and I’m even thankful for having a small taste of what it is like to be in pain every day. I could say that medications helped me overcome the problem, but since migraines are partially induced by stress, I’d like to think that my commitment to positivity is ultimately what makes the challenge possible to overcome. I still have headaches with high frequency, but thanks to my positivity bootcamp training (aka migraines!) I am more resilient for overcoming other challenges and for sympathizing with those who are facing far greater physical challenges than me.

Ideal Job:
I want to be working with and for people- inspiring and caring for them. I’m honestly not sure exactly what this will look like, but I know that it can be easy to care more about profits than people in the real world, and I want to be a force of opposition to that. One of the reasons I decided to pursue a technical field is because I think our society often fails to associate science and technical professions with a genuine care and passion for others. We think it is ok to be smart but not caring, because smart will get us a job and smart will solve the problems that most need solving. I believe, however, that simply finding an answer is not solving a problem! We have to be able to apply that answer in a useful way, and I think merely coming up with answers is unfulfilling if you don’t care about how applying the solution affects those around you. So… I’d love to be a programmer with a heart for change!

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t let anyone tell you it is more important to fit in than to embrace the passions and life experiences that make you different. We all have something to contribute, and when we contribute to each other in different ways we make more progress than when we all try to do the same thing! It’s been said before “no one can be you but you.” Don’t rob other people or yourself of the impact that only you have been designed to make on the world by trying to be something you are not!

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