“If you can be anything, BE KIND.”
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Currently, I’m a Program Manager at Microsoft and recent grad from the University of Washington in Seattle where I studied Informatics. I’m passionate about human-computer interaction and enjoy exploring the legal, social, and ethical issues of emerging technologies for the everyday individual. Most of my work has mainly revolved around the topics of tech policy, computer science education, and entrepreneurship!
My favorite application of these interests was interning at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. I had the opportunity to start the White House Women in STEM webpage and work on other computer science education initiatives (such as getting Obama to write a line of code!). I also had an engineering internship with Microsoft and did research at the Tech Policy Lab during college.
A couple fun facts are that I love traveling (just took my first solo-backpacking trip to Iceland a few months ago) and grew up in Texas competing on a dance team!
What # would define your life journey?
#keepexploring – It’s a big world and there is an endless amount to see and experience! Trying new things, exploring new places, and meeting new people forces you to confront your assumptions + broadens your perspective.
#hustlehard – Don’t give up! It takes grit.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
During my internship I had the chance to work for the CTO Megan Smith who is a huge role model of mine. What inspired me the most was her total out-of-the-box thinking — aiming for the stars and then figuring out how to make it happen from there.
My parents are also a huge source of inspiration and support. They were both the first in their families to go to college and worked full-time jobs to put themselves through school. I know they’ve done everything possible to provide me with a great start and I want to work just as hard as they have to do good in the world. They’ve taught me that grit is everything.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Disparate Youth – Santigold
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Growing up I had no idea I would want to go into the tech world, I was frequently one of the only girls in my advanced math and science classes and felt caught in between different identities of my friend groups. As I got to know myself more, I had to make a few sacrifices to try pursuing what I was interested in. While I had wonderful parents cheering me on, the “imposter syndrome” still feeds much of my self-doubt today. When you dig deep enough, it seems that no one has it all together and everyone is really just trying to figure it out as they go — and you can too. I was lucky to have a great support network that helped me in my journey into STEM, but it’s critical to listen to the stories of others and understand both the asymmetry of opportunity and the challenges still yet to come in the workplace. I know there are many hurdles ahead as a woman in STEM and leadership, which is why a community such as this is so important.
I’ve also recently been challenged by the health conditions of very close family members. I find myself still working on overcoming these emotions by channeling a drive to help others and figuring out how to aide in a solution to these diseases.
Broadly in ten years, I hope that I will have returned to school to pursue graduate education and am either leading my own company or working in a leadership position within the technology industry or technology policy community. I think balancing a career and life is very important to long-term success and wellbeing — along with work pursuits, I hope in ten years to have a family of my own (even if this just includes a puppy), to have lived in another city, and to have grown my network of friends/colleagues. While it’s hard to predict the future, I hope that keeping the larger goal, using technology to make a positive impact on the world, in sight will help guide my day-to-day decisions and add up to very substantial work in ten years.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
One of the most important resources for your sanity and career is to build a network of mentors and advocates. These are the people who will be connectors and keep you accountable. Ideally a collection of peers you can count on for support, role models who can help pull you up and connect you to others, and other mentors who you can learn from. I’ve found I have always learned best through experience and some of my most cherished accomplishments have come through my personal mentor/advocates connecting me with opportunities.
Value the mentors who invest in you — then turn around and be an advocate for someone who is going down the same path as you. Build your community, embrace life-long learning, and reign your life!