#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Alayna Truttmann

“Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.”

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying computer science, graphic design, digital studies. I haven’t always known that I wanted to go into computer science – I was curious about it, but my small high school didn’t offer any CS classes. My mom encouraged me to attend a computer science camp at Carleton College, and there I fell in love with the idea of combining my creative and logical skills in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and UI/UX design. Coming to college without much coding experience was a challenge, but my determination to reach my career goals kept me going through difficult classes. I was fortunate to intern in the Microsoft Explore program last summer and work on developing features for a new organizational app.

Fun fact: I grew up on a dairy farm.

Favorite website / app:
My favorite website is Netflix – a little Parks & Recreation at the end of a stressful day helps me unwind.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I have a whole group of people who inspire me: The members of NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology). I joined the group after winning the Aspirations in Computing award in 2014, and have been inspired by its members ever since. The stories these women share in the Facebook group have taught me to dream big (which encouraged me to apply at Microsoft) and also not be afraid to fail.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Hear Me by Imagine Dragons

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Moving to Seattle this summer was definitely a challenge. I’d lived in Wisconsin my whole life, and it was scary at first to be that far away from all of my family and friends. I’m also naturally a quiet person, so meeting new people was intimidating. I pushed myself to attend the many intern socials Microsoft hosted, and it turned out there were tons of awesome people around me that shared my interests! I ended up having many great adventures with my new friends and got over my homesickness quickly.

Ideal Job:
I would like to work in a role that combines design and tech, such as a UI designer. I want to help make products that are simple to navigate and a joy to use.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t be afraid to go after what you want, and be ready to put in the work to get it. When I worked at Microsoft, I knew I wanted to explore outside of my software developer role to focus more on design. So, I offered to take over the user interface design portion of my intern team’s project, and coordinated with product managers and designers to iterate through the design process. It was a lot of work, but at the end of the process both my team and I were happy with how the product looked. By asking for what I wanted, I got to work on something I was passionate about and build skills to use in my next project!

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