#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Olivia Gonzalez

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.”

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Olivia Gonzalez — I am a recent law school graduate and current grad student at Oxford, researching cyber law and policy. I grew up in San Diego, California and moved to New York for college and law school. As a Hispanic woman interested in law and technology, I know how important it is to encourage women (especially minority women) to get involved in fields where they are historically underrepresented. Code, much like law, is infused with the value judgments of its creators. We need diverse voices and perspectives to write the laws and the code so that the interests of society are more fully represented as technology advances.

When I graduated from law school, I knew that I needed some technical ability in order to be a better lawyer in this field. But there is a cultural gap between the tech community and the legal community – few lawyers know how to code or understand the architecture of the internet. Yet, there’s an increasing need for lawyers who can bridge the gap between the technology community and the legal community. In order to make the laws and argue cases on technology, lawyers need to seek out first hand knowledge and an intimate understanding of how the technology works. At Oxford, I research legal questions related to encryption of information. I wanted to learn to code and to understand the technical elements of encryption before proposing legal approaches to it. While STEM courses may seem intimidating to an outsider, taking a crack at it showed me that all you really need to do is put the hours in and enjoy yourself. 🙂

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
It can seem appealing to do everything by the book. You may sometimes be put on a conveyor belt towards seeking certain jobs, going to certain schools, or prioritizing certain things in your life. But the most important thing is thinking critically about these decisions and making sure you are constantly challenging yourself rather than choosing things because they are the default things to do. Experiment with your career path and whenever anyone tells you there is only one “route” to a goal you have, don’t believe them.

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