#WomeninSTEM · Computer Science · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Sandy Papadimitriou

The Berlin Wall slogan ‘Many small people who in many small places do many small things can alter the face of the world,’ has inspired my everyday actions.

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! My name is Kyriaki Papadimitriou and I go by Sandy. I am a fourth year student at University of California, Berkeley studying Computer Science and Economics. I was born and raised in Greece. I am passionate about environmental sustainability, diversity, finance and technology. I spent my sophomore year interning in PwC’s Power & Utilities Valuation group and my junior summer in Citi’s Global Risk Management team. Starting my senior year at Cal, I am looking forward to attending the The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) in October.

Fun fact: I love traveling and I have been to 32 countries so far. My latest adventure was completing the four-day Classic Inca Trail hike leading to Machu Picchu last spring. The elevation of the trail was very high reaching 13,780ft (or 4,200m) above sea level, but the natural views made the experience totally worth it.

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
Google, Tango Daydream, Bloomberg News, Venmo, and GoogleMaps

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Of all the people who have inspired me, I have to say that my grandparents, Vangelis and Kiki, rank at the top of the list. Experiencing a civil war right after WW2, they started working at the age of 12 to support their younger siblings while both their parents had to migrate to other European countries to find jobs. Through hard work, they started a business from scratch that soon became a nationally recognized brand. Until today they try to give back to their community and friends. They have raised a family with immense love and dedication, while they impart the value of hard work, resilience, and kindness to the younger members.


Song that makes you want to dance:
”Heroes” by Måns Zelmerlöw

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Whenever I introduce myself people can tell I have a European accent and ask me where I am from. When I respond I am from Greece, they will either tell me how much they want to travel to the Greek islands after seeing pictures of Santorini, or ask me how my family is doing during the financial crisis. Both reactions are understandable. Nevertheless, some people are unconsciously prone to stereotypes surrounding my country’s  financial situations. I have been asked many times if my parents pay taxes –and the answer is “A LOT of taxes”. A few people even insulted me with jokes like “Do not eat this soup. It is for people who pay and you are here (at Berkeley) with European Union’s money” even though I am an international student and my family pays the very expensive out state tuition. Therefore, I was challenged multiple times to overcome social stereotypes on my country and establish a personal brand of a loyal and hardworking person by putting extra work on delivering high quality work.

Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be a position in a fast paced environment that enables me work directly on client projects and see the impact of my work in the industry. I want to work on a project that requires extensive market research so I am familiar with current industry trends and news, but concurrently a job that encourages me take initiative, be creative and a pioneer in the field. My ideal job would enable me travel to meet and work with colleagues and clients. And definitely, my ideal company would truly value diversity and make sincere efforts to hire qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds, while consistently investing in its current employees through holistic training real-time feedback.  

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?

  1. There are always people who are or seem to be better than you. Do not feel discouraged but be motivated by them and try to learn from them.
  2. Try to keep up with news (financial, political, athletic, environmental, etc.)
  3. Try to learn something new every day in or out of your domain. Talk to people, ask them what they are working on, pick a tech magazine and read about new research programs, or just look up exciting fun facts online!
  4. Devote time for self-reflection and ask for feedback from family, friends, mentors, and professionals.

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