"Don’t limit yourself to one passion because others tell you that you can only fit into one category. If you are interested in both art and STEM, there are so many careers where you can combine these and you can fulfill your goals in both fields! As you keep pursuing varying passions, you’ll become a strong thinker who can appreciate diverse viewpoints. In the end, your journey is defined by YOU and how you choose to ideate, merge, and act, so be sure to hold on to your passions."
"The fact that I didn't find any female Aerospace Engineers for reference inspired me to become someone who you could look up to as a representation. Lack of representation can sometimes demotivate you and make you believe that you're not fit for a job since you cannot relate to how other people look or do in the said profession or space. I took this very challenge to heart and pursued my love for aerospace engineering."
"There are only two milestones in your life — the day you were born and the day you realize who you are. Once you identify your self worth, you are an indestructible force. Just know that once you know what your passions are, work with them and soon your passions can make an impact to the lives of others. Passion fuels purpose."
"I’m a coding enthusiast, advocate for closing the gender gap in tech, proud Gen Z-er, proponent of dreaming big, and a junior at Parsippany High School. I’m the founder of STEMFuture, an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to equip all youth with essential STEM skills and show them how innovation in STEM is being used to create social impact and change the world. I was also a co-organizer of ByteHacks 2018, an all-women 24 hour NYC hackathon."
Being a novelist is a great privilege. In addition to getting to write stories that are a fun escape for readers, storytelling is also a really accessible way to introduce people to engineering and science. I am able to write stories that give girls and women in STEM a chance to see people like themselves as strong characters in the books.
"I fell in love with technology after learning how technology was used in animation films and at theme parks. I was fascinated with how 0s and 1s could create unity and curiosity amongst people while also telling stories."
"One of the biggest challenges I face as a woman passionate about technology is the lack of diversity. My school’s computer science club had over 40 participants, yet I was the only female member. Not having other girls who shared my passion for computer science was sometimes disheartening.
Computer science is growing to play a significant role in our everyday lives, and it is essential that we tap into the immense talent of the female community."
Evelyn M. Maldonado Nieves
"As human beings we all have weaknesses, we all bleed, and we all hurt, it is up to us to improve our lives, to study more and work harder than anyone to achieve our dreams. Remember, life is not a race, the important thing is not who comes first, it is getting to the finish line."
"Failure has given me perspective. It has taught me to focus on progress instead instead of perfection and learning for learning's sake. It has made me flexible, resilient, by forcing me to find something good no matter how bad things have hit the fan. It has shown me the importance again of being kind, forgiving -- not just to myself, but to others -- because we are all human and we are all imperfect."
"As a resident of the Silicon Valley, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded with tons of opportunities, but if there aren't very many opportunities in your area, I urge you to go ahead and initiate your own! Don't be afraid to message people on social media or networking sites."
Janelie Díaz Bonet
"I’m a nineteen-year-old woman, who likes pizza, cars, sports, and most of all values God and family. I’m on my sophomore year of my bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo. In which in most of my classes I’m the only girl. I am a board member of the Computer Science Student Association (CSSA) and a member of the Robotics Development Lab (RoDeL). Later, for my master’s degree I plan to combine computer science with biomedics."
"Never be afraid to change your life — new environments help you grow and develop and it’s 1000% worth it despite the growing pains you might feel initially."
"I've learned that imposter syndrome is more common than I thought. I've learned to push those thoughts aside, and let them fuel me to prove them wrong, rather than drown in the negativity. It isn't always easy though."
Ana Pompa Alarcón Rawls
I am Ana half Mexican half Austrian and I live in Santa Monica together with my husband and our two kids Leila and Ezra. My husband and I founded findSisterhood.com together to empower women to speak their truth."
Melanie Díaz Bonet
"My aim is to become a Public and Environmental Health scientist. I believe in a less polluted and more sustainable planet (environmental health) which contributes directly with human life quality (public health). Also promoting healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle. "
"Last year, Puerto Rico suffered from a natural disaster, a hurricane called María. After it passed, everything came back to normal. Everyone was at their jobs working or school studying. In my case, my house didn’t have electricity nor water for almost 6 months. Studying was kind of a challenge. All the tests, the assignments and the classes orientations were one after another. It was chaos, but I did the best I could out of the situation and I got an A in all my classes."
Soleil López Mendoza
"Someone is always going to want to hold you back for whatever reason. It is up to you to let them or to rise above them. So if you truly believe that you can do something, do it. Society and its beliefs do not define who you are and what you can or cannot do, you do."
"Write constantly. Fill a journal with books you’ve read, songs that resonate with you, and moments that give you hope. Wake up 20 minutes earlier and write a few Morning Pages to clear your mind. This is my favorite type of self-care — it helps me stay honest with myself."
"Being gentle with yourself, I often have high expectations for myself and feel disappointed when I don’t achieve. Putting things into perspective by asking “what is at stake?” really helps me"
"In life, there are always going to be people who will tell you that you can't achieve your dreams. They will find the smallest of reasons to make you feel you can't do anything. For a moment, you will believe them. Don't let them keep you from following your dreams. You will find obstacles and hardships along the way, but you have to work hard to be who you want to be and never give up."
"Be brave and authentic! Your authenticity will take you a very long way. Your bravery will help you change your world and the world around you!"
Check out Her STEM Story Podcast: www.herstemstory.com and follow @HerSTEMStory on Twitter, Insta, and FB!
"Never give up!
No matter if you don't receive the support you wish for, don't throw away your dreams and the opportunities that life gives you. Take them! Be your own support! It may be difficult at first but later you'll see the gratification of accomplishing your dreams and goals.
Don't give up! Remember, "failure is not an option!""
"When I started high school, I took an intro to computer programming class and I absolutely loved it. After that, I decided to join a robotics team at my school, but I was very discouraged as I was not as advanced as many of the advanced male programmers. As a result, I quit and I joined another robotics team the following year where I did have more opportunities to code than I did on the previous team I was on. Still, I didn't feel that I had what it took to become a strong programmer..."
"1. One should never listen to people saying you're not good or worthy enough to pursue your dreams.
2. Find your tribe.
The only person you should prove yourself to is… yourself."
"It’s working on challenging projects like these that really allow me to be creative while also doing what I’ve wanted since the age of five: positively impacting the medical community. I’ve got to say-- stumbling into the world of CS has been one of the most fortunate crossroads in my life so far."
"One of my favorite quotes is, “If it’s to be, it's up to me!”. In general this has been my approach to life and my academic career. I am always willing to take a chance and try new things, even if I fail trying, I know I will have learned something in the process."
Don't be afraid to 'walk alone'. By that I mean, going out to networking events and such has so much personal gain to it. You really enable yourself to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, not to mention you are so much more focused on the content presented at these events and can better internally process the topics discussed and develop an even interest in them.
"I want women to know that they have everything they’ll ever need to succeed right inside of them. Nothing can stop them from achieving what they set their minds to. Even through the hardship, they should stay poised and continue to believe in themselves. Then, they’ll truly reign."
"I began to realize that even I, despite having a plethora of astounding female role models to look up to, faced barriers that held me back. I realized that I lacked confidence and self-efficacy; I was never sure of the decisions I was making, and I always felt that I would fail the first time I did anything. I struggled with self-doubt following even the smallest failures, and I often held myself to higher standards than I did the people around me."
"I am inspired by all the girls who dip their toes into programming for the first time despite being told that it’s not for them, all the women who are in executive positions making decisions that impact people across the country and world, all the females in labs working tirelessly every day to get one step closer to finding medical solutions, and literally every hardworking individual out there."
Michelle Chen & Joy L
Michelle: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Never think that you’re not good enough. Always ask for help when you need it.
Joy: You need to absolutely believe in yourself, create your own opportunities, and be overconfident.
"Put yourself out there because life opens up when you do. Apply for scholarships, attend conferences, find your dream job, build a strong network of badass women in tech who inspire you."
"No matter where you come from or what background you have, it is never too late to start anything...No matter what your little voice says to you, either “I don’t think I can do this” or “This field is too competitive,” don’t believe a thing that voice says... You are unstoppable as long as you let yourself be unstoppable."
"Be unapologetically empathetic and emotional in your life. Whether it is apathy or endless care, let your emotions thrive and nurture your thoughts. They are what move you to create, breathe, and live. Abide by them and never be sorry for the world and what it makes you feel and what that moves you to do."
When I started making apps, I didn't even have an iPhone or ever used a Mac. I turned to a friend for help and he told me that I was crazy. Apps were just a passing fad and I didn't have the money, technical skills or network to build one. But I was determined and got up at 5am every morning before going into my day job to work on my app...fumbling with XCode, skyping developers, tweaking my designs. It was a huge learning curve but the best thing I ever did!"
"In middle school, I was soft-spoken and fearful of being ostracized for my inability to speak fluent English. However, as a junior in high school, I’m grateful to reflect back at who I once was and confidently state that I have overcome the fear and shame I once associated with being Chinese and struggling from financial hardship. My endeavors in neuroscience and STEM have made me realize a fundamental truth: the only thing keeping me from what I want is fear."
Lisa Gregory Chille
"Appreciate novice-ness. Appreciate newness. When you're new and a novice, that is when you can ask questions that experienced people are unable to."
"Take as many chances as you can to learn from the people around you! I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet so many incredible and driven people that I’ve learned a lot from (I’ve only mentioned a few here). I think life overall is a learning experience, which can be enriched by others if we let them."
"I am passionate about people and renewable energy! I study Electrical Engineering and also have background as a photographer and artist."
Cindy Xie and Sarah Chun
Sarah Chun: "My advice to girls is to first explore an area or an issue that they are passionate about, and then research how you can contribute/ lead a solution."
Cindy Xie: "My advice for other women to REIGN their lives would be to never stop trying and to follow your dreams. Follow what you love and stick to it. Persevere, create networks, and expand your horizons."
"Right now I'm facing the most difficult challenge I ever had. I called it an odyssey since it brought lots of changes. Since Hurricane María, college has been really difficult and stressful. I don't have electricity at home so I have to stay at Mayaguez. Lots of exams, projects, assignments, labs... Not easy. But I developed patience and now I feel unstoppable. I will fight for what I want which is to pass my classes with excellent grades."
Constantina _Connie_ Scoullis2
"Don't ever make a decision based on a "you can't" statement if you have never tried whatever it is you say "you can't" do. When you do that, you are denying yourself the chance to explore something that might be a new passion or calling. If you try something and decide that you don't like it and you want nothing to do with it, that is a completely different story. But you are doing a huge disservice to yourself if you don't try."
"For the longest time, I believed I was allowed one passion. It was back in high school/early college years where all my classmates seemed convinced in their directions. I felt like an imposter when I would go home and NOT want to code side projects but instead draw or write. As much as I like coding, it’s not a wind-down activity for me. But at the time, I was confused why I didn’t have that same fervor...Comparing myself to others is really the thief of joy."
"I'm Nicole, and I am a front-end web developer and educational technology entrepreneur. I'm a proud Black and Native American woman, and the first female technologist in my family. Born and raised in Massachusetts, I attended Wellesley College and although I started with a Computer Science degree... I was encouraged to change majors when I didn't respond well to the curriculum...My brand, La Vie en Code ("Life in Code" in French) is a blog, podcast, and resource site..."
"It’s been pretty tricky learning more about what I want to do in college! I don’t think I would have chosen that same majors if I know what I do now, but I definitely have learned a lot along the way. I would say my biggest challenge is still coming up! I’m trying to figure out where I want to go for my first job after graduation."
"I want to tell every woman out there that they should learn to program and acquire technical skills and try to build something great that solves a market need. Doing so will open doors to a number of opportunities!"
My website is cryptopricetrackerapp.com
Find me on Medium too! medium.com/@harshitaisanerd
"Value and nurture your network the same way you value education and experience. The old adage “its not what you know, but who you know” is 100% true. Every role I have had for the last 15 years was through networks. Also, let your light shine. People won’t know what you aspire to learn or do and won’t be able to send opportunities your way, if you don’t let share your aspirations."
"Tech has a unique power to scale impact, and I see myself harnessing its power to tackle inequity and build people up."
"You can’t live someone else’s dream. As much as I love gymnastics, I know that it is not my purpose in life — it isn’t my dream. In all honesty, I can’t tell you what my dream is, but it is worth taking the journey to find out. Reigning in life means chasing your dreams and cheering on others while they chase theirs."
"Learn to code. Code is like poetry. In poetry, you can write words effortlessly painting an image in a person’s mind. Code allows you to create anything you want without the obstacles of class or education. Coding is not simply zeros and ones. Coding is about impacting humanity."
"I lived in Jalisco, Mexico from the age of 13–17, it was amazing to live in my culture and be surrounded by all my extended family. I truly believe I became who I am today from this experience. The big challenge was moving back to the states my senior year in HS. I had culture shock to say the least and had to take an extra year to complete all the requirements to graduate and have a chance to attend college. Not to mention leaving behind my family and my first set of real friends..."
"When faced with a difficult challenge, it’s important to take a moment to feel the feelings, define it, decide what actions to take to resolve it, then deliver. The result may not always be in your favor, but the challenge doesn’t get any easier unless you try!"
"My ideal job involves using my technical knowledge to solve tough problems faced by some organization, group, or community. I am increasingly interested and excited about the power of statistical models and general data analysis in shedding light on social problems."
"I went to a very diverse school growing up and was first introduced to computer science in a very diverse setting through the company’s attempt to draw in more females and minorities. One summer I attended a one week coding camp and the fact that I was the only non-white student and one of the two girls in the C++ class was a hard pill to swallow. Summer dresses and flora prints are definitely my thing so being in a room that was majority male made me question if I even belonged..."
"The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. I think this is so important because I know that I have struggled with imposter syndrome partly because I tend to compare myself to others. Everyone’s abilities and accomplishments are dependant on a lot of factors, so it isn’t fair to compare yourself to someone with a completely different background than you. I guess my point is rather than feeling down from comparing yourself to “more successful” people, you should..."
"As Mary Oliver wrote in her poem The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Never forget the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of school or work and forget the beauty of life. Do the things you’re passionate about, never settle for less. Be kind, be humble, be open to change. Cherish your friendships, new and old, because these will be the people you will fall back on and who will support you especially when..."
"Ask questions! People genuinely love teaching other people new things. Think about it! If a coworker or friend came up to you and asked for help, wouldn’t you love to bestow new knowledge upon them? To this end, don’t be afraid to ask others for help when you don’t understand something. Communities and environments become stronger when people support one another and that begins with asking for help when you need it."
I highly recommend Women in Tech by Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack. I saw it lying around the Forbes office, so I picked it up and recently finished it. One of the most stunning quotes from the book was the simple observation that when you do an image search for “CEO” on Google, the first woman who appears (about a hundred images down) is CEO Barbie.
"Always try, no matter what. The majority of my opportunities in my life (work, school, etc) I did not expect to get at all. When I was a freshman in college, I threw caution to the wind and applied for an internship in Hong Kong (and got it to my surprise!). It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had and it really convinced me to put myself out there even if I think I have no chance. It is super easy to be self-defeating and use our fear of failure as an excuse, but..."
"When I first started to code, I was disheartened by how confusing it seemed. I felt as if programming didn’t come as naturally to me as it did to my peers (many of whom had already been coding for years). I almost believed that I simply wasn’t meant for it. I took a break from computer science classes for a semester, while finishing other requirements. During that time, I relentlessly practiced programming concepts until I felt more comfortable proceeding with CS studies."
"Sometimes things deserve a second chance. I was haunted by the competitive programming class I took as a kid for a really long time without realizing that things that are scary for a 6th grader are probably not so scary anymore for a college student. I’m really glad I tried again."
"In order to achieve your wildest dreams there are two pieces of advice I think are beneficial to know. The first is to take the best risk. Like the quote on my wall states “Everything is a risk, not doing anything is a risk, it is up to you!”. So yeah, it might be easier for you to just stay at home and work all summer like you’ve always done but when you do that you’re risking something else."
"Physically writing down your goals is extremely helpful because it helps translate your motivation and energy into comprehensive thoughts, so you can work towards achieving them!"
"I would tell women in order to REIGN their lives, be prepared and excited to take opportunities that come to you and to not get overwhelmed trying to stick to “the plan.” Some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime, and you might enjoy the change!"
"Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make some noise. This is something that I’m still working on and striving toward: asking more questions and being more vocal. Being curious, inquisitive, and asking the right questions is the first step towards becoming a game changer."
"You’re going to come across challenges — everyone does. But you can handle it. Don’t make anyone or anything cause you to bow your head in acceptance when you don’t want to. The only reason you should ever look down, or have someone look down upon you, is to admire your shoes."
"Take up space. Be a feminist killjoy. Don’t let the egos and comfort of men outweigh your comfort or what’s right. And to my trans women and femme friends, you’re valid and deserve the world, and you are your gender regardless if you present or look like it. Take over the tech world.
Also everyone should be going to hackathons and have side projects! Don’t neglect it — it is what makes or breaks your experience."
"Don’t be afraid to try new things and take risks! Ignore gender stereotypes, because you can do anything that you set your mind to if you dedicate yourself and work hard! If you ever feel like you aren’t good enough or forget why you are where you are, go back to where your passion started and remind yourself how far you have come. Find someone who believes in you and will help cheer you on even when you have lost faith in yourself. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy what you do!"
"As a first generation college student, I had no idea what Computer Science was before I entered college, unlike many of my peers who had many years of experience before college. I was told left and right by mentors, major advisors etc. that maybe I should not pursue Computer Science because I was not performing at the level of my peers. Not knowing anything about who I am as a person, that I’m strong, driven, and talented, they simply told me to give up my dream. Today, that is not the case..."
"Be unapologetically yourself! And be confident about it. Don’t hesitate to ever do whatever you want in this life because someone says otherwise. Do you."
"I think to truly REIGN in your life, it is so important to have a good outlook. When I am happy and optimistic about the world(even if I have tons of stuff to do or have hit a roadblock) the problem gets solved so much faster and my state of mind is so much better than when I let myself dwell on the stress. Sometimes, this comes in the form of not letting myself complain to my housemates at the end of the day, or making myself find at least one positive in the events of seemingly terrible days"
"My biggest advice for other women is to not be afraid to ask for what you want and work hard to get it. Nothing good comes easy and the journey is as important as the destination. And it’s important to take a breath every once in a while and enjoy the little things in life. Stop stressing so much about school or grades or internships and maximize the time you have with friends and family. In the end, skills will only take you so far and you’ll need your network to take you farther."
"I would say to take a look at what they are doing right now, and ask themselves: “Are you doing everything you possibly can to get to where you want to be?” If they are, then by all means continue persevering. If not, keep doing your research and reaching out to your network, and reign in the future you want."
"“Be bold or italic. Never regular.” As a design enthusiast, I find this quote cheeky but also impactful. We should take initiative in paving our way to success instead of waiting for it to happen. To try and fail is better than never trying at all. We need to be ambitious and as women, we should strive to empower each other."
"Everyone has 24 hours in their day and you differentiate yourself based on what you do in those 24 hours. Once you have an idea about what you want to accomplish, work toward it every day because consistency is the key. Remember to smile through it all though!"
"#Fail would probably be the hashtag that would define my life journey. Most people think of the word as an actual failure or disappointment that happened to them. They usually pertain this to something extremely negative, I’ve also done the same. But as I’ve gotten older, experienced many obstacles and continue to learn from my mistakes, I’ve learned to take a more positive outlook on life. I use this word as my drive to never give up in my goals, I’ve redefined it" “First Attempt In Learning"
"Pay it forward. I think it’s so, so important, in disciplines where we already have so few people to have as role models, that as we learn and become more confident, ourselves, that we help other young women do the same thing. It’s incredibly rewarding."
"Do whatever you want to do and keep that goal in mind. I’ve learned to not let others’ opinions bother you and do not try to appease everyone because you will tire yourself out. Keep working hard towards your goal and know there will always be someone supporting you! Also please keep an open line of communication between yourself and those who mutually care about you- friends and family are the best supporters and sources of stress relief."
"Ask for help and seek mentorship from those who inspire you."
"Own it. Have the creative confidence to go make your life, your work, everything that you interact with better than it was yesterday and believe that you can do it. If you keep trying, eventually there won’t be anything stopping you."
"Surround yourself with people that believe in you, your goals, and your impact. They may be few and far between, but they’re out there, and just you wait: everyone else will be scrambling to jump on the back of your kickass bandwagon before it’s too late."
"Never let a question you have go unasked! It doesn’t matter if you can’t find a direct answer, some questions are just meant to spark discussion or exploration. That is a fun area to be in. Spark debate, do some research, and learn things outside of class."
"Don’t be afraid. We spend so much of our lives worrying about what other people think of us, wondering if we fit in, not sure if we want to go against the flow. Don’t wonder about the what ifs — just take a chance. Even if you fail, you’ll learn something. I used to be afraid of revealing my personal interests, my quirks, my fears, my shortcomings, etc. to others. I was worried that I would be seen as less or that my value would be diminished."
"Do not be afraid of not fitting in the “tech world”, embrace standing out! In fact, make yourself stand out through ideas and creativity. In words of TSwift, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”. Just do your thing, and regardless of what that is, do everything possible to be the best you can possibly be at your thing."
"I used to avoid “woman in tech” events like the plague. I may have fit the formal definition, but my lack of knowledge made me feel small, like I didn’t belong with this seemingly mystical group. It had seemed unclear to me at the time who exactly a “woman in tech” was — in my mind, these girls had the knowledge to outwit their peers in projects and coding challenges while I was struggling to keep a B+ in my first-level CS class. I’m not worthy of the title, I thought to myself. I have to..."
"Wake up early. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Be kind to others. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Give back. Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it with all your heart. Never stop dreaming and doing."
"Never be afraid to ask. As someone who is naturally more passive, it’s so much easier for me to sit back and allow life to pass by, but I’ve realized now more than ever how many doors can open for you if you ask. I know it’s so cliche, but the worst people can say is “No,” and that just brings you closer to another possible “Yes.”"
"If you can take the lead, do it! It is very intimidating when you go into a situation and you see no reflections of yourself, but just think about it: someone had to start doing it first! So please, be an example for the younger ladies to follow. It may feel like you are under a microscope and people may be waiting for you to make a mistake, but just keep shining as brightly as you already are! Give them all something to really talk about! Be beautiful, courageous, and smart!"
"I reject the notion that women are weak. Wholeheartedly. The sacrifice that our mothers make to bring us into this world and to put us before themselves every time is proof that women are strong. We are strong. We are resilient. We are purposely put into challenging environments because we have the determination and the intelligence to stand up for ourselves and to make the world a better place. Never let anyone else convince you otherwise."
"Respect yourself by being true to yourself and going after what you want. Don’t hesitate because you think you’re “not good enough”–there are enough forces out there trying to knock you down without you being your own worst enemy on top of it all. Be unabashedly curious, bold, and self-aware; recognize your boundaries, but don’t ever be afraid to challenge them (and ask for help if needed). You’re capable of a lot more than you know, and pretty much no one gets to where they are without..."
"Always advocate for yourself. No one is going to have your back like you do."
"You’ll get asked about what’s it like to be a woman working in your industry or how do you deal with challenges of being a women in your industry. I absolutely agree and love Shonda Rhimes’ response: “I don’t really have time to worry about the fact that somebody else has a problem with the fact that I have a vagina.”
My approach has always been show, don’t tell. I don’t spend time making it known that I worked on a project."
"Tell your own story and make your narrative work for you; there are many routes into tech professions, and all outside experience add value and color. Once you are there, take credit for a job well done, but share the reflected glory with those who helped you along the way — highlighting a junior coder’s contribution not only inspires their confidence and helps them on their journey, but it also demonstrates what kind of leader you are — one with a positive sphere of influence."
"Confidence is key. How many times have you looked at those around you and thought, “wow that person really has her life together”? Now, how many times have you thought the complete opposite about someone? Notice how skewed our perception of the world is in comparison to our own self-reflections? In the same you way you answered those questions, the person next to you is likely answering them the exact same way..."
"Take care of yourself. It’s okay to ask for help, to say no, to take time off for yourself. Don’t skip meals. Try yoga or runs to clear your mind. Self care can be especially easy to neglect in college amidst project deadlines, midterms, and interviews but remember that happy and healthy matters more than any grade or internship offer ever will."
"I would tell them to never give up and to never be discouraged. Giving up is the worst thing that someone can do in a situation and if you keep going forward, it will all end up alright in the end. Also to never let anyone underestimate you for being a girl and you are just as capable of anything as a boy is."
"Don’t be afraid to be you and don’t compare yourself to others. You will meet a lot of people who will be smarter than you and better than you but they will never be YOU and that is what will set you apart from the crowd. “Be an original, not a copy.”"
"Early this year, I did not connect to my science elective. I decided to take a leap of faith and try CS, without any experience in the field. Through this switch, many opportunities were opened to me. I plan to pursue a career in computer science, something that would have never happened if I did not take that first step."
"Always ask for what you want because otherwise you definitely won’t get it. Apply for anything you want even if you don’t think you are “ready” & do so with confidence. Try to get yourself exposure through mutually beneficial partnerships and projects and always do so authentically and with the best intentions toward others."
Learn more about Nadia: nadiachilmonik.com
"The advice that I would give to other women, “ Don’t be afraid to take the plunge in a new trade, art or even career. There will always be a little alter ego sitting on your shoulder making you question your decision. Ignore it, as it could be the best thing that has ever happened to you."
"Take time to reflect on your life. Take a step back, take a breather, and try to figure out want you really want to accomplish. A couple of years ago, I was constantly working, trying to achieve success and recognition in various fields. But when things calmed down a bit, I found that I really wasn’t passionate about what I was pursuing. Success and achievements can mean nothing when you don’t love what you are doing. It’s taken time, and some self reflection, but I think I have now figured..."
"Don’t back off from anything that gets in the way of your goal; stay strong and fight through hardships, and you won’t miss. Focus on being the main character of your own story and not others’, embrace the people who empower you through your life, and look for opportunities to be that supporting beam for others; not only will it make a difference in their lives, it will for yours."
"Build your network. It is so important to build a great network of people, for internship connections, graduate school advice, or anything they can provide. Make sure to start this as early as you can! I have a good friend that is absolutely amazing at doing this, and it’s made a huge difference in her internship search."
"Write your own rules in life. Too many times I see people who compare themselves to others or pursue a path in life that’s expected of them rather than what they really want. I could never imagine living a life with that much predictability. I believe in exploring the world and leaving yourself open to pursuing any life-changing opportunities that may come your way."
"One of my biggest challenges is becoming more confident in myself. I sometimes feel like I’m not a “real entrepreneur” and I second guess my thoughts and feelings. Or I feel like I need permission to do certain things.
It’s tough to rewire my brain, but I’m finally learning to be more confident in my own authentic way."
"My age has caused many challenges for me, but facing those challenges early on has given me more courage to try again and again, with different methods and perspectives, if I fail the first time."
Kailin Zhang and Sophie Maniscalco
Meet Kailin and Sophie, two NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award winners who also won first place as a team at Globalhack VII, a hackathon aimed at creating programs to positively reshape the experiences of foreign-born individuals and communities. They have also been featured on Kode with Klossy's newsletter and social media! Learn more about the journey of these Super Girls!
"My name is Alyssa Shah and I am a rising sophomore at The Dalton School. I am the youngest of three girls and am very interested in STEM. My discovery of computing and technology was a fortunate accident. I first became interested in computer science and robotics when I joined my schools robotics team in 5th grade. I participated in First Lego League Robotics competitions in 5th and 6th grade and in RoboCup Junior in 7th and 8th grade, and was the lead programmer all four years."
Sweta Srinivasan and Divya Srinivasa
Sweta Srinivasan and Divya Srinivasan are twin sisters and the founders of Girls for Science. Divya is a modern art enthusiast and Sweta loves trying out new coffee shops! Sweta and Divya have been competing in science competitions since 4th grade. In their sophomore year of high school, the two worked on a project about mental health and at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida, they won 4th in their category!
Maria Rose Belding
"I'm the co-founder/executive director at MEANS Database, a nonprofit tech company working in 49 U.S. states and territories to fight food waste. We built an online platform that allows grocery stores, restaurants and other food retailers with excess food to instantly notify soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other charities nearby."
"Show up. Get it done. Take pride in how far you have come, have faith in far you can go, and know that you are absolutely, unequivocally enough."
"Our app gives remote workers seamless access to amazing coworking spaces around the world. We initially started the company because we had trouble finding a place to meet and collaborate in New York City. Coffee shops just weren't cutting it, so we decided to create our own solution and we launched a little over two years ago. I love being able to help people be more productive and inspired throughout the daily lives."
(Link Coming Soon)
"Balance is the most important thing. Be everything you want to be whether or not that fits the mold of what you think you should be. Do not apologize for being too girly, too manly, too backend-y, too skinny, too curious, too anything. Do not be afraid to be everything at once. With enough experience, you’ll find your poise. You’ll find your fulfillment. Build your own definition of success. Iterate. Build a product roadmap of yourself, for every relationship, for every dream."
"Whatever it is that you really want to be doing, go for it. There are plenty of reasons people, even you yourself, will tell you not to go for something but none of those reasons hold any weight unless you give them the power to. By doing things that used to scare me, I’ve had some of the greatest experiences of my life and have become involved in the greatest organizations and programs I know of. That’s led me to meet so many people that have had great impact in my life."
"Even in areas unrelated to your career, remember that you aren’t following a predetermined path. It’s impossible to predict the future, as hard as that might be to accept. I’ve discovered the hard way that whenever a door closes, there’s almost always another one that opens. Lost opportunities are only a chance to learn from your mistakes, and to make the best use of the next opportunity that comes your way."
"Get out of your comfort zone — travel often, try something new, talk to the person next to you in the coffee shop, then educate others. As women, we need to create an expectation that women are as good as any other person in science, technology, or elsewhere. This is why we need to foster belief in young girls about their own ability to achieve. Build communities to inspire and educate the women and men around you with positive affirmations, open discussions, and shared knowledge."
"Attitude is key: always try to see the bright side of everything and never give up on your goals! The beginning of accomplishing any goal is always difficult, but as long as you keep trying your best and maintain an optimistic mindset, you will succeed."
Michelle Lim (Xuan Li)
"Don’t be afraid to ask for help!"
"If you’re afraid of doing something because of the risk, effort, commitment — prepare as best you can, and then take the chance! So many of the opportunities I’ve been given arose because I took a chance on myself. (: And never hesitate to reach out to friends, family, and strangers for advice and support!"
"A personal challenge of mine is also something I am very grateful for: I was homeschooled for 11 years, which helped me become an independent, self-sufficient, and creative individual, but it was tedious finding STEM opportunities as a homeschooler. Nonetheless, I got involved in community activities like 4-H and Science Olympiad, and I even conducted research over a summer at an NSF camp called the Young Scholars Program. Since I was already a self-starter..."
"In many of my CS classes I often feel like the material isn’t for me, that I am not as smart as everyone else and that is the reason I am struggling in the course. And then I realize that there are others feeling the same way but I am just putting myself down."
"I used to hate CS. I had my first computer science instruction when I was living in Bangalore, and I thought it was literally the most boring subject I had to learn. The material was dry and unintuitive and I totally lost interest. It wasn’t until I moved back to the U.S. that I got to participate in an app design competition at my middle school and realized that CS is such an exciting field that can be molded to whatever you want to make it!"
"I recently watched a TED talk titled “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”. I think that is great advice that all girls should keep in mind when doing anything. There is no ‘right’ passion you should be following, but as long as you are doing what you love and not afraid to take big strides, all will go well!"
"I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone every now and then and take risks. Risk-taking provides you with confidence, learning lessons, and a broader view of the world. It’s almost important to figure out what and who makes you happy and spend as much time doing these activities or spending time with these people. Happiness is key. Lastly, don’t let gender define what you think you can and cannot do. As a woman, you should have the right to feel empowered and determined that..."
"I would encourage other women to ask questions. This may seem like odd advice, but I myself used to very afraid to ask questions — whether this may be in class, during office hours, at a panel discussion, during a networking event…you name it! I would be the silent person in the crowd hoping that someone else would ask my question for me and it rarely happens because I am unique and the probability that someone else shares my specific thought is very low."
Barbara P Gonzalez Rivera
"Dare to explore, and accept challenges. You are the only being you can fully control in this life. Do not depend too much on the opinion of others. If you desire to accomplish a goal, absolutely no one can stop you. There will surely be stumbling blocks on the rocky path and people will discourage you, but don’t be afraid, they are part of the extraordinary experience and will help you grow successfully in various areas. Follow the path that makes you happy, and don’t live your life trying..."
"Do what you love and don’t be afraid to take risks. The best opportunity of your life could be waiting for you on the other side. And even if it isn’t be glad for the experience it gave you because failure is just as important as success. You really cannot succeed without having first failed because it wouldn’t be as great."
"Look for many mentors and differing opinions. Multiple people who are experts in what they do. The point of all these diverse sources to draw inspiration from is that you get clarity about what you want with your life. Learn from their failures and their success. They have been in your shoes too and are the most reliable source of insight on what the future holds for you."
"Women should be more confident in the way they lead their lives and technology can help you achieve it. If you hesitate speaking in public, write blogs. There is a whole load of opportunity waiting for you."
"Don’t underestimate your abilities. Sometimes all you do need is to take the chance and hope for the best because your dedication and hardwork would eventually give you a positive result."
"The most important thing is to believe in yourself. Life will throw many obstacles, but it is crucial to never lose faith. With hard work and perseverance, it is possible to make your dream into a reality. Throughout the journey, you will encounter people that put you down or don’t know what you are capable of, and as women it’s important for us to speak up."
"Do what makes you happy!! I really believe that if you enjoy what you’re doing and are happy about what you’re doing that you will end up doing a much better job on whatever it is you’re working on, and you’ll have a much better time doing it!"
Megan Nalani Chun
"Every woman has the power to REIGN her life and her career. Each woman is amazing and can do whatever they set out to do if their heart is in it and they believe in themselves. Sometimes life is hard and you don’t know where to start. Sometimes you’re scared. But no one has ever grown by standing still and I highly doubt anyone has achieved their dreams by standing still. Think of what you want, what you love, and what excites you."
Xuewen Sherry Li
"Find mentors! It’s easy to feel like you are bothering someone or that you are not “worthy” of their time, but as students, we are in a rare bubble where we are constantly learning and we are surrounded by people who genuinely want to help us. Rely on yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lastly, show your appreciation for anyone that ever puts time aside for you, because those are the people you want in your life."
"Be open to adventures and challenges. Take risks, learn as much as you can, and live life to the fullest, because you’ll be much happier when you do. You learn a lot about yourself by stepping outside of your comfort zone, both in your professional and personal life. So hold a jellyfish if that freaks you out and apply for a job that you don’t think you’re going to get! Because in the end you’ll gain a new perspective on life and a new experience to add to your collection…"
"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."
" I’ve found that I’m much happier if I’m focusing my effort on producing good work rather than checking off another accomplishment on my resume or getting a certain grade. If you’re concentrated on what kind of value you can bring to a project or a performance, that effort will get noticed."
"Rather than focusing on the qualifications or skills you don’t have, focus on the ones you do have and how you can strengthen and improve them. Don’t be afraid to use your resources and the people you know because they’re there to help you, and pay it forward by mentoring and helping others."
"Some of my passions include keeping up to date with technology by attending meetups, supporting women in technology by volunteering with a variety of different organizations, and writing by being the Editor-In-Chief for the Odyssey. I’m also involved with Omaha’s Random Acts of Kindness Club, work part time for Farm Credit Services of America, and am actively involved in a sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. You can say that I definitely enjoy keeping busy!"
"Biggest challenge is fighting the imposter syndrome. I feel like no matter how much you learn, or how far you go, there’s always that feeling of doubt."
"Every time I feel little bogged down I remember this quote: “You’re not the kind of girl who settles. Keep not settling.” — Joy Wilson. It picks me back up and gives me the little push I need! This can be whether sometimes I feel a little overworked or I feel excluded because many times I’m the only hijabi in the room."
"If you put your mind to something you will be able to not only finish but succeed. There is nothing in this world that can stop you from becoming the best at something besides yourself. So if you want it, go get it."
"I feel we should stop hesitating in speaking up. If we are passionate about something we can find a way and time to do it."
"Do not be afraid to question anything. Computer Science is a field in which problems need to be tackled from all angles. This includes raising questions in class — more often than not, a question you have is also a question someone else wants answered!"
"So many times in life, especially while growing up, we are told to be a certain way or strongly influenced to follow specific paths. There are never decisions that are genuinely our own. Developing a love for technology and acting upon it was the first time I truly did something entirely for myself. I didn’t feel obligated to justify my new goals to anyone, because I believed in my newfound passion. One year later, I’ve never looked back."
"A positive mentality is key. There are times I have caught myself getting discouraged due to how I was viewing a situation. However, simply taking a step back and reevaluating what is going on around me always does tremendous things for my mood, outlook, and motivation. As cliché as it sounds, staying positive can help you see things in a whole new light and can help you discover opportunities that you otherwise may not have noticed."
"My high school Computer Science teacher, Cynthia Gallatin, is an inspiration to me. Without her and her class, I would not have discovered this path. If you ask me, “what does a computer scientist look like?” She is still the first person that comes to mind. Having a female engineering role model was so important- I never thought that this was something I couldn’t do, or that it was something that was “just for boys”. She is an amazing teacher and truly made our class so much fun ..."
"Adversity makes us all strong, but that does not mean you need to go through it alone."
"One thing I’d like to tell all the ladies out there is — don’t conform. No matter what happens, do your own thing. If it goes right, the benefits are yours to reap. If it goes wrong, you’re to be blamed and you can’t pin it on anyone else. Don’t listen to what the society has to say about how women should & shouldn’t behave. It’s your life, live it ONLY on YOUR own terms, not someone else’s. Don’t try to fit into a someone else’s description of you & your life."
"I came to college knowing nothing about computer science or electrical engineering (the two subjects I am studying). Many peers had learned these subjects in high school or were self-taught. I certainly struggled in the beginning! I recognized a challenge and didn’t let it scare me. I learned to ask for help. I learned as much as I could from my peers and I was able to get a free tutor through my school and that helped me get to speed with the class. Now I like to offer my help..."
"Be bold. Don’t be afraid to do what others tell you is impossible. People told me that completing three majors was unheard of, but that didn’t stop me. If anything, it made me want it more. Find what you love and pursue it no matter what others tell you. Don’t be afraid of being the only woman in a class, meeting or group — as the only woman, you have a view that no one else does, and believe it or not, your voice can make more of a difference than you think."
"Having a strong support group, and finding communities where you feel comfortable, is crucial. The people you surround yourself with can make an enormous difference in your success and happiness. Learn from the experienced people around you, interact and engage with your peer group, and mentor younger girls considering a similar path. Help strengthen the community of women in tech!"
"Making my mind to change my direction to computer science is the biggest challenge. I learned some frontend languages and did some website projects just for fun when I was a freshman, but I didn’t realize this would be something I would be passionate about in the future. I used to doubt myself whether I made a correct decision and whether I wasted too much time figuring out what I actually want to do. Afterwards, I found that all those doubts are meaningless. Life is all about experiences..."
"Going off on my own to become my own boss was the biggest challenge. There is so much fear involved in doing something new, or starting your own business. I have learned to squash that fear by earning trust with myself and by keeping promises with myself. That sounds kind of strange, but when I tell myself something needs to get done by the end of the day, I treat it as if I told an important client, even if it is just a personal project I am doing for fun."
"I saw this quote online one day and it really resonated with me: “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you,’ that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.”"
"Don’t be afraid to try new things and do what interests you! Halfway into college, I realized that in addition to computer science there were a lot of other subjects I wanted to learn more about but hadn’t had a chance to. I took up a social entrepreneurship minor and started taking classes in philosophy, psychology, public policy, and history. Although I was worried about not doing more computer science related things, I really think it helped me discover some new interests ..."
"The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my life is probably overcoming the lack of emotional support I’ve received from my family. I specify emotional because my parents were great at financially supporting me and always making sure there was food in my mouth. I lived a pretty comfortable life at home thanks to their hard work, but I was always very distant from them. The cultural gap made it hard for them to understand some of the things I did and it made it hard for me to understand..."
"In middle school in Bangkok, when anyone asked me what my plan after high school graduation, I always replied I wanted to go to universities in the States. Most of my friends at school and family suggested me not to aim too high. I usually got discouraged. However, I studied really hard, got involved in a lot of activities to improve myself and reached out to lof of people for advice. Now being at Duke, I believe what others say does not determine who you are or the limit of your potential."
"At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. Everyone and everything you encounter makes you a more well rounded and stronger individual. The unknown is scary, but just trying your best can lead to great and surprising opportunities. Be yourself and all will fall into place."
Monica Starr Feldman
"Help others & don’t get “competitive.” Of course you should compete to be the best version of yourself, but you should never push someone else down to give yourself an illusion of being pulled up."
"I belong to a simple middle income group family from India. It was a very difficult choice to move out of the country to study, as no girls in the family had ever done that, along with the move being an expensive affair. I received a few offers with 50% scholarship, but did not accept those as I did not want my grad school to be a burden on the family...It took a long time to make sure that my parents were happy and convinced about me moving halfway around the globe for a program..."
"I want young women to stop feeling as though every action they take rests on the idea that they need to prove their worth within their company as programmers, managers, scientists, or mathematicians. If we eradicate the fear epidemic that has pervaded the community of women in STEM, women will be able to truly show just how equipped and qualified they are. In a few words: Speak up and don’t be afraid because you’ve been able to accomplish so much already, you just need to stick with it..."
"Don’t let anyone talk you out of reaching for your goals. When I was in middle school I let my peers convince me that girls shouldn’t code, fortunately I found my way back to computer science later in high school. If people ever tell you that you aren’t smart enough, old enough, experienced enough, or don’t fit a particular stereotype, ignore them. Know that it takes passion and commitment, in addition to talent, to achieve goals. If you are excited about something, be excited about it!"
Heather Kimberly Huynh
"Don’t be afraid to try new things, but at the same time, it’s important to focus. You don’t necessarily need to only specialize in Java, for example, but it can hinder your efforts if you try to learn Java and Python and C++ all at the same time. There’s only so much you can learn at one time, so it’s important to pick and choose. You can always learn a skill later on, but it’s hard to get better without focus."
"Being a woman in engineering is both special and unique, and you have just as much ability and potential as any one else. If anything, you have the ability to bring a new perspective to a male-dominant industry, and that is pretty cool!"
"I consider it quite an honor to be a person (and particularly a woman) in science and engineering today. You and I get the privilege and the responsibility to really better lives and create advancements and innovate, and this is something not everyone gets the opportunity to do in his or her lifetime. So my feeling is — be proud of the opportunity you have to be creative and imaginative and innovative and take ownership of that power."
"There’s a concept in statistics called the Law of Large Numbers which states that the more times an experiment is performed, the closer you get to your expected result. With this in mind, a large N (sample size) of potential opportunities is the best tool you can give yourself to be successful by your own definition. To be able to use this strategy, it is important to not fear failure, because with this large of a pool of options, many are inevitably going to say no to you."
"Take a class that might be completely unrelated to anything else just because it seems really cool — I think these classes gave me the best idea of what I might want to do in the future."
Anstonia Ngo Yee Ma
"You will need to rely on yourself a lot. There will be times where everyone you once relied on might not be available to help you and that’s when you will have to stand on your own two feet to make your own decisions, fail on your own terms, and live up to your own expectations. With that, not only will you be able to deal with the failures that life will ultimately bring, but also be able to learn from those and come out stronger than before."
"If you have an inkling for an idea or experience just do it. My professor once emailed me “Never let school interfere with your life. Seems like a wonderful opportunity, and I wish you much luck.” and it was a profound note that made me realize that people will always be rooting for your success if you are actively pursuing it. If you fail, you still have learned and walked away with an incredible experience — something that school doesn’t always show you."
"Network, don’t underestimate yourself, don’t give up, and use your resources."
"I’ve faced lots of technical challenges, whether through coding or 3D printing or even conducting lab work at school, but the most important takeaway for me has been that it’s okay to ask for help. If I’m having a lot of trouble and I’ve exhausted all methods of trying new ideas and searching for answers, then I know that asking someone a question does not mean I’m not smart or I’m incapable. It means I’m ready to put in the work to learn something new."
"Be bold, work hard, and be so good they can’t ignore you! Realize that you have something unique that you bring to the table and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Always, always believe in yourself especially when no one else seems to! Have fun and make things happen! Finally, give back and help others along the way; it will empower you."
"Make every moment in your life count, and have no regrets."
"Do not be scared of hard work or getting uncomfortable. Work for the moments that bring tears to your eyes because you know how much it took to get there."
Taylor Fang, Anne Li, and Joanna Liu
"In the summer of 2017, as attendees at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Outreach Summer Program (SAILORS), we started talking about the lack of girls in many technology activities we participated in. We decided to start the collaborative blog Allgirlithm (allgirlithm.wordpress.com), to try and address this gap. We share news, opportunities, and resources, along with guest posts, with the hope that we can build confidence in people of all backgrounds."
"Don’t compare yourself to others, make mistakes, don’t be afraid and be confident!"
"Life happens, and you can’t let a few stumbles get in your way. So you failed a test, or didn’t do so hot on a project, or didn’t get that interview. It’s in the past, and all you can do is learn from it and do better next time!"
"I post the interviews on STEMilyK.org so that all girls, no matter what socioeconomic background they come from, can have access to a panel of women in STEM role models. Not only do my interviews provide girls with women in STEM role models, but they also shed light on jobs that girls are typically unaware of, such as an actuary or a structural engineer. My hope is that girls can see that pursuing a career in STEM does not mean being trapped in a lab all day or ..."
"Most skills are things you can learn not inherent abilities."
"Don’t expect to know your entire life plan outright, but do continue seizing interesting opportunities as they come. That’s been my secret to success so far!"
"Never let people’s opinion of you hold you back from what you want to accomplish in life. Where there’s a will there’s a way; and if there is no way, make a way. There will be obstacles but don’t let that stop you. Be a hurdler, take pleasure at leaping over obstacles and pressing on towards your goal. Be the greatest version of yourself that you can be and surround yourself with people that think positively of you and believe in your abilities."
"While there have been many women that have inspired me along the way one of my biggest inspirations has been Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org. What has inspired me the most about Mrs. Sandberg has been her ability to identify opportunities and trends as well as help them to grow. I am also impressed with her desire to help other women achieve their own success while at the same time helping the less fortunate through her not for profit endeavors."
"Do what makes you happy, work hard, and the rest will follow."
"Believe in yourself and believe in others. And do not be afraid of new challenges; inexperience just means that there is more to experience."
"Dreaming BIG and knowing that the sky is the limit is the first step to becoming GREAT. You cannot dream BIG and not put in the work to achieve those dreams. Hard work and determination is the major key to success. A dream without a plan is nothing more than just a dream. It will forever be a vision. DREAM BIG and BE #FEARLESS!"
"When I switched into CS, I was already halfway through my college career and I felt my peers were lightyears ahead of me. I was also super shaky in my self-esteem in regards to my coding skills. I would say the moment I overcame that was when I attended my first hackathon, SB Hacks 2015. At that point I had only been a CS major for only a month or two and knew no one else in my major so I had no one to go with. I went to SB Hacks by myself but eventually I found a team & we managed to build..."
"Always keep working to improve yourself personally and professionally. You can’t lose if you’re working towards something a little bit each day."
" Learning to code is such an invaluable skill to have, as it has cross sections in every industry. While many see coding as a science, code is very much a medium for expression and creativity, it is simply a new way we can all have our voices heard and share the issues that matter to each of us. Everyone has different ideas, different stories, different lifestyles, and computer science allows us to customize and create fixes to problems faced by ourselves or by others."
"My advice to young women, is do not delay the process of learning to be your own biggest cheerleader. Not in a cheesy ‘go girl’ type of way but in honest respect and love for yourself. Stand in appreciation of who you are and what you have done as often as you can."
"Just go for it! Don’t let the statistics stop you from entering a field you love, or your age from making a difference in an issue you truly care about! They are simply numbers, but it’s your drive, motivation, and love for your work that will take you far in life. So start that program you’ve been thinking about starting, hack away on that project that just won’t get off your mind, and apply for things you never think you’ll get because if you don’t try, you’ll never know what could’ve been."
Diana Kris Navarro
"“Lift while you climb.” Not only does teaching others ensure your own knowledge, but imparting your own lessons can benefit tech culture as a whole. I truly believe in rejecting the “shame people who don’t know” culture. Computer Science needs to be more noob friendly."
"In joining this field, I knew it wouldn’t be easy by any means and told myself in the beginning to not give up when it gets difficult. In one of my intro courses I struggled — a lot. I had never struggled with learning content like this before and I took it very hard. I went to an instructor to discuss my struggles and the chance to retake the course and they said to my face, “What makes you think you can succeed if you try again?” and laughed at my mistakes on a recent exam..."
" A big challenge I’ve experienced is not being hurt by the inequality that women and minorities experience in the world. Based on the injustices occurring in the world today, as well as my personal experience of often being “the only woman in the room,” I have sometimes struggled to find the strength to fight this. But I know now that my purpose is to fight to bridge the gap and push for a world that is more inclusive."
"I’ve struggled a lot with imposter syndrome. I was not a great math student in high school because I believed I just wasn’t a ” math person.” My senior year in high school I was just a few percentage points away from failing calculus. In college, I knew I had to take just 1 college math class for the Economics major, and so I decided to see if I could pass. I read up on growth mindset and study techniques, and ended up getting an A, so I resolved to keep taking math classes..."
"I became interested in tech after attending my first hackathon, not for the coding or the community, but for a more superficial reason: the free food. Doing Codecademy in the past made me think that coding was something simply too easy for my liking, and that it wouldn’t give me the challenge I so desired in my life. But, free food. What a random and unexpected way to get myself into a whole new sector."
"Don’t be afraid to try new things and reach out to people! I think the best things that have happened to me have been a product of me just putting myself out there."
"Never allow yourself to be limited by your age. If you want to achieve something, think of how you can do it now rather than later. You do not have to be a certain age to do something amazing. All you need is an idea and passion."
Jahannie Torres Rodriguez
"Get out of your comfort zone! Dare to try new things, without fear of failure and with the willingness to learn. The real magic happens when you decide to stop living in a routine. Start with small things, read a book from outside your major, take an elective course in another department, make a nice project following a tutorial. The possibilities are endless. You’ll notice that you’ll feel re-energized, motivated, accomplished and empowered. And those things, no one can take them from you!"
"Know yourself and be yourself.You’re only alive for a certain period of time, don’t waste time on being someone you’re not or doing things you don’t like. It’s the most cliché and played out sayings of all time, but if you really are the “fullest” version of yourself, you can’t ask for anything more. Take advantage of what you are good at and kill it. 💪"
"Learn what your priorities are and organize yourself accordingly. I’ve learned this the hard way but I’m applying it after taking a seminar with a dear professor of mine that put things into perspective! Now I don’t feel as guilty if I’m spending time with my family, or dedicating time to take care of myself both physically and mentally!"
"It’s easy to have doubts because you don’t know everything, but neither do I neither does anyone! However just because that is true doesn’t mean you should let that keep you from breaking out of your comfort zone. If you don’t try something new you will never know what is waiting for you at the end of the journey. You are capable of anything that you set your mind to, as long as you believe that you are doing it to the best of your ability..."
"If you want something, go for it! Don’t leave any “what ifs” in your life. It never hurts to try for something, even if you think you won’t get it. In STEM, a field mostly dominated by men, it’s important to be confident in your own abilities"
"I am a first-generation college student from Vietnam that started my new chapter of life in the United States in 2010... Step out of your comfort zone because that’s when you can discover your other potentials."
"The biggest wall blocking your success is the one you have built. Always trust yourself and your abilities. Every time someone tells you that it is impossible to achieve something you want, consider it a challenge and prove them wrong."
"I’m currently the social media manager for the IEEE Women In Engineering student chapter of my university. The chapter aims to uplift women, as well as men, by doing everything possible to break a diversity of barriers to bridge the gender divide. “Voices of WIE” is a project I started within the chapter to do just that."
"Ever since I was young, I always knew that I wanted to help people, whether that was as a teacher or a doctor. But as of now, I want to use my skill set to use technology and science by innovating solutions through research to better my community and beyond. It excites me that there are a myriad of questions about our world that are left unanswered."
"Try new things! If I didn’t take the first step and try out coding that one summer, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was so against coding growing up as a child, but when I entered high school and gave it a shot, it opened so many doors for me. Remember that the world is not binary. There is no such thing as a man’s job and a woman’s job."
"For the last 5 years, I have coached kids with special needs to swim with the Coppell Special Olympics Team and interning at my local hospitals. These experiences have inspired me to help find solutions for those in need through technological innovations. This past summer, I worked towards that goal; I researched implantable bio-compatible neurotechnology at the Advanced Polymer Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Dallas."
" I think the key to being a successful woman is having the ability to be both solid and flexible. You must be firm in what you believe is right and become invincible to anything that intends to steer you in the wrong direction. That being said, it’s important that you also be open-minded and willing to listen to others. I know, they sound a little contradictory but it’s all about balance and understanding which situations are applicable."
"I am a former mathematics and science teacher, and athletic coach. Interestingly, as a new teacher, I started teaching a mathematics curriculum developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that was focused on engaging students in learning mathematics in collaborative ways and changing perceptions about teaching and learning mathematics to help promote higher achievement, especially with students of color."
"In the future, she hopes to combine her interests in writing and psychology into projects like a poetry generator that uses AI to stimulate creative thought or a chatbot that serves as an outlet for high schoolers dealing"
"These young elementary kids had the fuel and passion but lack of resources and opportunity. I knew this is just the beginning of a journey and I want to do much more in years to come and also start introducing the love for tinkering, building and robotics."
"My mom is the most influential figure in my life, without a doubt. She’s the perfect foil to my well-meaning but overly stern immigrant father; she stresses being practical and productive when it comes to planning out my life journey, but has always encouraged me to professionally pursue whatever makes me happy. As a former paramedic for the Fire Department of New York, she was one of the many 9/11 first responders who developed permanent disabilities after the attack..."
"Do things before you’re ready and be kind to yourself. I have high expectations for myself so being vulnerable and asking for help is challenging, but it is so important to embrace it. It’s important to actively seek out opportunities above your experience level in order to grow, and be kind to yourself when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. Constantly expecting perfection of yourself is a great way to miss out on learning opportunities."
"Be more assertive. This is something I am working on doing more of. Don’t allow the female stereotype to hold you back. All stereotypes (whether considered positive or negative) about people like me have made me feel restricted, as if my identity has to either go with or go against a stereotype. I’ve been working on just being myself and not letting others’ expectations or generalizations rule my life."
"I impart the same wisdom I tell myself every morning: Be Unique. Be You. All of the greatest inventions were from people who stood out amongst the crowd and weren’t scared to venture out by themselves. Being in technology opens up so many doors for you so don’t be scared to combine your interests! Just because you’re a women in tech doesn’t mean you’re only a women in tech — it just means tech is a facet of your life."
"Remember the supporters, the parents and/or peers who saw you through your journey and cheered for you behind the scenes. Remember them especially when others tell you you can’t do it or say it isn’t possible. Your passion will be what makes you shine, and no one can take that away."
"Growing up in Poland, I was able to observe many of the challenges facing developing countries. This played a huge role in shaping my career goals. I became naturally interested in the role that technology and financial democratization can play in reducing inequality within and among countries."
"Define what your goals are in life, determine what the best route is, for you personally, to get there. Understand that your plan may fall through, that is perfectly fine. Challenge yourself, remind yourself daily of your worth and your capabilities. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not able — prove them wrong. Never stop learning, remain curious. Continue to blaze the path for those behind you, bring others up with you on your path to REIGN."
"Be you. Too many people are trying to be “like” people and you can’t really make an impact on the world if you are trying to do something that someone has already done or be like someone who already existed. Mentors are a great resource but make sure to still be you. Follow your passions and stay true to yourself."
"Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted: Hillary Clinton. Today is November 13th, 2016, 5 days after the 2016 election. This past week, especially, I have been inspired by her courage, compassion, ambition, and humility."
"My big life challenge was spending my high school years in the middle of a civil war in Sri Lanka. I had a privileged life, but it was hard to see so much suffering around me. I started volunteering at a girls’ orphanage as an English teacher to feel like I was doing something positive. Little did I know that it would be the most rewarding experience of my life. My girls were so hard-working and eager to learn, and their energy gave me the strength to push myself in my academics."
"While others who came from a more experienced background, the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, or even the actual Silicon Valley, may have done these things years before me, it doesn’t mean that I’m late to the game."
"My motto is: do what makes you happy, & the moment you’re not happy stop doing it. That goes for every aspect of my life not just tech. Of course, you have to take this with a grain of salt because not everything will make you happy in the moment but can lead to happiness later on in life. For example, my Data Structures class — it might give me nightmares now but it will definitely make my dreams come true in the future. Sometimes, this mindset isn’t realistic because you simply don’t have..."
"Being a woman in STEM fields definitely comes with a lot of challenges, & at times it’s easy to feel like an outsider in class or work since a lot of the time I am the only woman in the room. When I first got to Columbia, this sense of impostor syndrome was doubled when I heard so many amazing things about my classmates, and at times I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be at the same school as them. Eventually, I realized that so many people felt the same way as I did, and I’ve learned..."
"Other than that I love exploring and pushing my limits, I have also tried my hands on Haxeflixel and Opengl which are meant for gaming. According to me one should never fear from exploring new things and pushing themselves."
Myra Yujia Deng
"truly believe your own worth. You are capable of incredible things once you tear down the restraints blurring your sense of confidence. In that vein, don’t be afraid to reach out to almost anyone around you — for help when you’re learning, for support when you’re struggling, for congratulations when you’re succeeding. Be bold and be brave."
"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..."
"Surround yourself with people that are a positive addition to your life. It’s so much easier being the best version of yourself when you are a part of a strong support system with people that believe in each other rather than tear you down."
"I would encourage women to work hard and take calculated risks, find a profession that they enjoy, and throughout their lives, always strive to leave the world a little better off than it was when they got here."
"Grow to love the sound of your own voice! This is a silly bit of advice, but I think it holds. Owning your actions and your voice with pride goes a long way. I really believe that having confidence, strength, and the self-assurance to be ourselves helps us all reign in our own lives!"
"I want all women in tech to keep in mind that no matter how hard the workforce, school, or any environment may seem in the beginning, you can get through it. Think of errors to be puzzles that are waiting to be solved, take any available help you can get and learn from each one, and have confidence in your coding abilities. You have the potential to construct and polish the digital world. And from there, you’ll have the power to build the future and influence other women to do the same."
"It’s important to have a community to come home to and to be able to rely on, enjoy what you’re doing, and to have time for yourself. As for a little bit about who I am: I am a leader, follower, explorer, discoverer, dancer, and nosy busy-body giving you unsolicited advice."
"Be yourself! Don’t shy away from a challenge, don’t change yourself because of society or others. Stay true to who you are. If you can dream it, believe it and achieve it! You can do it!"
"I want you to understand that your worth as a woman in STEM is nothing short of you defining your own standard of success. You encompass what it means to be excellent. There isn’t a scale to measure your potential to succeed. The statistics for women in STEM is daunting. When you’re sitting in a math, science, or engineering course dominated by men, it can be difficult to believe you belong. It can be frustrating to work in a group and be assigned a lesser role on a team..."
"After a lot of thinking, planning, and believing, in early freshman year, I became the founder of Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity. My goal was to educate and equip elementary and middle school students, as well as senior home elders, with the online safety skills needed to face the technology of tomorrow. I have produced short-films for schools, held event nights, and spoke to faculty, students, and parents, answering questions and speaking of my cyber-experiences as a high-school student."
Susana Romelia Gomez-Burgos
"Never to give up. Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed and want to change paths but if you are doing something you love it will be worth it. There’s been so many semesters when I’m tired and stressed with everything that is going on but the projects that I’ve gotten to work during my internships or school trips have been amazing and worth it!"
"Throughout my life I have always gone for the classes and activities that have been a challenge. I have learned that the hardest experiences are usually the most gratifying. And especially for women in STEM, we will always have to try harder than our peers to fight for our ideas and to be recognized for our abilities and to be respected. So although it may seem impossible at times, #Don’tGiveUp."
"Never be afraid to ask for what you want, even when you think it is impossible. This was imparted to me by several other women in my life, and it is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. If the worst-case scenario does happen and you don’t get what you want (or if people think that you are obnoxious for asking–something which has never happened but I am always irrationally afraid of), then at least you tried. For me, that’s a much better feeling than not asking and wondering..."
"I grew up believing that I do not have any kind of acrobatic, leadership, organisational, management, communication, or fashion / design skills and will never be able to have them. The only skills I knew I had were singing and programming (but was told I’m not a good techie — because of course it’s for men ). I was sure I was kiddish, immature and weak and had accepted that fact way earlier in life. I started lean in circles and thank Sheryl for her book and her organisation, which led me..."
"You are your best self when you are being yourself. As a woman in tech, it’s so easy to feel small in the field, especially when you are surrounded by men. You are just as good as the male developers around you, maybe even better. Talk yourself up, be confident about what you build, because no one else is going to do it for you. Realize that self-confidence is more important than confidence in your skills. If you’re not able to exude pride in yourself, the other things fall short."
"When I was younger, I really struggled with spelling. I was self conscious about it and became so afraid of messing up that I would opt to use simpler words instead of taking risks and writing what I really meant. My spelling improved over time but I never really gained confidence as a writer until I joined my high school speech team. Without anyone looking over my shoulder, I would write and rewrite speeches for hours on end. Over time I became really proud of my work."
"To all the future generations that seek to REIGN their lives, I would like to say if you have a goal set in your mind, take all the necessary steps to make it solid. Seize every single opportunity that comes your way as each one potentially provides you with new knowledge or skill-sets that could make you an asset for future careers. We live in an era where there is no need to set a limit to your dreams and thus it should be your mission to stay motivated and strive for greatness."
"Women, especially, second guess their ability to tackle the unknown. If I’m psyching myself out about how hard learning something will be, I tell myself I should at least try learning the subject for a week. Getting started is the hardest part, because once I have some progress under my belt, I’m excited to understand more, instead of being afraid that I will put in time and not get anywhere. (This mentality also works for motivating yourself to go for a run.)"
"I graduated from University of Virginia with a dual major in chemistry and studio arts with concentration in painting. I'd like to introduce myself as a multi-disciplinary hybrid with an intense passion for science, art and business... My ideal job is to own a business that solves a certain problem in inspiring, positive, and creative ways. It will also have the ability to merge my three strong interests: art, science, and business."
"I lived life for a long time doing what I thought I was supposed to do or what I thought other people wanted from my life. In order to really REIGN your life, you have to be brave enough to take control of it and do what you want to do with it, not what people tell you to do with it. It’s okay if this requires you to take a leap of faith and change tracks. It’s worth it to take that risk and be excited about life rather than feel stuck. I think happiness is a mindset that is chosen..."
"I’ve learned how important it is to maintain perspective when things go awry. I’ll let myself have a moment where I can freak out and be upset, but then understand that I need to move on to the next thing because worrying is entirely unproductive. Also, it is far better to ask for help when you need it than waste time trying to do everything on your own."
"It is completely normal to feel lost. In fact, it is almost normal to feel lost. Everyone is struggling together to understand complicated algorithms and solve infamous null pointer exceptions. Ask questions and a lot of them — your peers may have the same exact questions as you!"
"Ignore the stereotypes surrounding the tech field, computer science is for everyone, not just “geeks,” and with creativity, it can be used to make a positive change in the world. Some advice: always compete with who you are today, never settle, and work hard everyday."
"If you are not happy with your work or your career, don’t sulk, don’t feel depressed. Talk to experts. More often than not they will understand you. I have met amazing mentors in my career who have understood my strong urge for computer science. They helped me and guided me. So reach out to the right persons as soon as possible. Sometimes it is worth giving up your ego, but not worth giving up your goal. That goal may be vague. But we all have vague goals, only when you move closer to it..."
"I’d say that you should find what to love and commit wholeheartedly to it. Even if it seems ridiculous, if you want it, just go after it and find a way to make it happen. You can be an agent for change. Disrupt, experiment, iterate. Eventually everything will work out."
"DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILING. GO AFTER IT ANYWAY. You will miss so many opportunities because of not feeling good enough. There are so many things I regret not going after."
"You don’t have to be perfect or an expert at something to do it. The hardest part is starting. If you’re really passionate about something, everything will follow if you work hard. You don’t have to know everything (and you never will!). Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because you can do great things when you are out of your comfort zone!"
"Be intentional with why you’re going down the path you’re going down. A lot of people go through school and deep into their career without knowing what they want to really do."
"It’s important to listen to suggestions but it’s more important to make your own mind. Follow your heart and try things you want, you will enjoy many new experience and new friends."
"Whenever you feel afraid to do something just do it. Fear can stop people from trying and being great. Live your dreams and do not allow that your fears obstruct your way. Fear is limiting: you will not learn until you fail. Failure will not stop you: encouragement will make you stronger."
"Imagine a Venn diagram with Business and Technology, the part that intersects is where you can find me!"
"First and foremost, surround yourself with a support group including friends, mentors, and sponsors. Remember you are not in this endeavor alone. There are people who respect you and want you to succeed according to your own terms. Seek mentors and do not be afraid to ask for help. Attend diversity conferences like Grace Hopper, Tapia etc to re-energize."
"I started an organization called “Cupcakes ‘n Code” to introduce girls in my community to coding!" http://cupcakesncode.weebly.com/
"Don’t be afraid to take risks and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves, even if it may lead you down an unconventional path. Taking a semester off of school to work at an engineering college in Brazil was an amazing experience I never would have had if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to do so, even though it caused me to delay my graduation when everyone else seems to be in this rush to graduate college..."
"Everyone who is very advanced at a certain skill or job has started at the very basics. Do not look at them and feel discouraged because you know less because at one point they knew just as much as you currently do! Be confident in yourself!"
"Be confident about yourself and your quirkiness and what makes you, you. Don’t try to be anyone else, just follow what you deeply believe, your goals, go to places you want to go, even if it’s alone, and be what you want to be. You will find the right people on your life track when you are doing all these things. Also if anyone tries to pull you down, be yourself more, that will KILL them. Your actions will define what you will be in the future, work hard and enjoy your journey."
Karelys Lopez Rivera
"I am inspired by Margaret Hamilton, the computer scientist. She is amazing, smart and her work history is amazing. She is the woman who created the code for the Apollo Space program. She is an inspiration for women like me who studies computer science. She made history being a female and working in a place where males were dominant. She took and made the impossible possible."
"To acknowledge someone’s achievements is important. It is even more crucial to recognize that person’s beginnings and challenges. And so, I encourage others who are reading this to share their stories — their mistakes, their obstacles, and their progresses. I was just one of the many who read Ashley’s story and found the courage to share mine. I hope that if this post doesn’t motivate others to speak up, it will at least provide another insight for those working in tech."
"When I was first exposed to programming I was very intimidated and learning it did not come easy to me. There were times where I thought to myself that this major was not right for me but with time I actually got the hang of it. I realized that what I loved the most about studying CS was not writing code but it was all the logic and problem solving it required. I love a challenge and every program was different and exciting and that’s what made me realize that I had chosen the right career.."
"I would love to have machine learning/data mining research position involving research that has a good impact on the world. One specific area that I have interest in is STEM education, so I’m also strongly leaning towards being a professor that does research to benefit STEM education. ...Don’t make your choices based on other peoples’ opinions, and, most importantly, don’t hold yourself back from taking opportunities."
"If you see an opportunity that looks interesting to you, go for it and believe in yourself! Too often we discount ourselves before we apply for things or dive in. I’ve struggled a lot with self-doubt and used to shut doors for myself by telling myself I didn’t have the qualifications for something before giving someone else a chance to decide. Over the years I’ve learned that we tend to underestimate ourselves, so go out there and try things!"
"I’m 16 years old, and currently a rising senior at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, CT. I am the founder of an international nonprofit called Leap Into Technology - or lit - (www.leapintotechnology.org), which aims to bridge the gender gap and to inspire girls around the world to immerse themselves in one of the largest fields of the era. I enjoy coding, and created my first website in 2nd grade, along with one of my friends. I also enjoy the physical aspect of computing..."
"It doesn’t matter if you think you’re qualified or not. One of my (male) friends when he was looking for a new job said to me that he “only expects to be 60% ready for the next job that he takes”. Women have the tendency to look at a job posting or a requirements list and if they don’t meet everything on it, they don’t even try to apply. Men, however, ignore the requirements and apply anyway. When it comes time to choose who gets picked, many women have already self-selected out."
"I want to be a Front End Developer and UX Designer at a company of passionate creators. I hope to work on a team that’s excited about the work we’re doing and constantly inspired to try new ideas."
"Try something new! The only way to become successful is to keep challenging yourself, even if you make countless mistakes. Come out of your comfort zone and be willing to take risks! Also, be brave and stand up for whatever you believe in! You should never compromise your beliefs and never let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do."
"Code is the future and now. Without code, our world now really wouldn’t exist. Even if you don’t want to be a programmer in the future, you should learn about code and the STEM field. All coding languages are universal, and code is what makes the world go round."
"Stay healthy and don’t isolate yourself! Staying healthy means you’ll have more energy to reign your own life. Also, If you ever think you’re alone, you’re not! Please don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you whether it’s for help, advice, or connections. People are what will help you face any challenge (technical or life)."
"While taking inspiration and learning from those that are featured is great, it is equally important to embrace individuality."
Elizabeth (Liz) Petrov
" Never feel stupid about yourself. Let’s face it — coding is hard, and most of the time it just doesn’t make any sense. But don’t let a small hiccup ruin computer science for you. Once you push through a problem you learn so many valuable skills along the way — skills not only in technology but in problem solving and in courage. And one day you will learn enough to make your own app or to grow and idea, and who knows, maybe to even change the world."
"Find a path, a direction. Take a few and think about what it is that you want to achieve in the end. The first one may not be the right one, but having a goal to work towards and aim for is a place to start. Every once in awhile, take another few and reorient yourself and your goals. In a society where it is easy to succumb to outside pressures, don’t forget to stay true to yourself. Instead of what others want you to do, what do YOU want to do?"
"There is absolutely nothing stronger than internal motivation. So, explore the world. Don’t be afraid to try something new, to enter unfamiliar territory. And when you find that one thing that keeps you going no matter what, you will never feel lost. Chase it, harness it, and cherish it."
"Even though the word “hacking” connotes a visual of large groups illegally breaking into a system, hackathons, in reality, act as an environment for all levels of experience and backgrounds to experiment and create with technology. Not only do these overnight events bring people together, hackathons allow ideas to come to life through various mentors, workshops, and hardware."
I am really passionate about creating technology and promoting computer science. My passion led me to co-found my school's first high school hackathon, hackMCST (https://hackmcst.tech) and started a Technology Club (http://mcsttechclub.github.io/). I also enjoy competing at other high school and college hackathons. In fact we are having our first 24-hour hackathon this December!"
"Give everything a shot. As a senior in high school applying for college, I was constantly told that you must commit to an activity from the start and excel at it in order to put it on your application. Nonetheless, this is not the case. I wish I was told to explore my options more and try new things. Some women have no questions around self-confidence, but a lot of women do. Recognize that just because you’re worried you’re not doing well, doesn’t mean you aren’t."
"There’s no right or wrong way to reign your life! Do what you feel is best. We are always receiving fragmented, sometimes conflicting, pieces of advice about being “confident”, “humble”, “kind”, “assertive” and so on. But ultimately, this billions of years old Universe, with galaxies constantly accreting and supernovas violently exploding, will not care about these adjectives. So why not create your legacy as you see fit?"
"I am a strong advocate for women's rights globally (especially their right to an education). I am involved with Girl Up, a UN Foundation, that lets girls advocate for girls’ education, health, safety, leadership, and their need to be documented globally. I co-founded my school's chapter to fundraise, advocate, and educate about issues that affect women in developing countries. Through Girl Up, I even had the chance to interview one of my girl heroes, Malala Yousafzai..."
"I hope to combine my love of policymaking and computer science in my position as Student Representative to the Fairfax County School Board, where I plan to advance our school district’s analytics on past performance and promote computer science and algorithmic thinking education for the almost 188,000 K-12 students I represent, as part of a broader plan to improve equity in student achievement."
"We do not all have an easy time with code in the beginning, however, we should recognize that when we say that we cannot do something we are not only undervaluing ourselves, we are lying to ourselves in a dangerous way. We may not be good at something in the beginning or even in the middle, the only difference between us being proficient at something and not is how much we are willing to be embarrassed."
"When you have people around you encouraging you, it's so much easier to pursue a dream than if you're by yourself and constantly questioning yourself. Once you find those people, apply yourself--enroll in programs like Girls Who Code or AP Computer Science, attend hackathons with your friends, research developments in STEM made by females, code a side project--and whenever you feel insecure or uncomfortable, which happens to *everyone*, talk about it with friends and family..."
"My daughter asked me to get her an astronaut t-shirt that I could not find in any girls section. Hence, Svaha was born. A company that started off as a kids apparel company, has now expanded into kids, women's, men's clothing and accessories company."
"In 10th grade, I wanted to join my school’s Robotics team. I approached the team’s programming captain, eager to apply my advanced Java skills to robots. He told me I did not have enough experience, and told me to join another team. Discouraged that I could not participate in something I was passionate about, I quit Robotics and created my own club at school: Technology Club."
"We can do whatever we put our minds too!"
"Having a disability myself, I understand the importance of Accessibility and why it is important for us to work toward accessibility in the education and tech. I recently received a grant to attend an Accessibility Conference in San Diego where I realized that I need to contribute towards making the world a more accessible place. I got in touch with some researchers at other universities who were working on tools to teach programming to blind students and were ready to help me..."
"I must have received hundreds of rejections before ultimately working at Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and the White House as an undergraduate. Sometimes, these rejections wouldn’t even be formal rejections, but soft rejections – professionals wouldn’t respond to my requests for coffee chats or even invite me for a phone interview. A particularly hard rejection, though, consisted of a series of on-site interviews where I met 14 professionals back-to-back ..."
"Growing up in the Silicon Valley, I’ve always been interested in technology. However, when I participated in tech-related clubs in middle school and high school, they were dominated by boys. I was maybe one out of three girls in the room, and hence I was hesitant and intimidated to speak up. Therefore, I was not aware of my full potential until I joined Girls Who Code during my junior year of high school. Girls Who Code ...empowered me to speak up and take charge in a male-dominated field..."
" No one can do everything perfectly. If you find yourself overwhelmed and stressed by everything you’re trying to dedicate time to (which I realized I was doing this year), I recommend that you take a step back from it all and figure out what you really love. Focus on those things. Apply all of your passion and determination to those select things and you’ll find yourself happier and thriving."
"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..."
"Run after your dreams. Persist, and don't take no for an answer. Don't stop believing in yourself. But also, take care of yourself too and don't forget to slow down every now and then so you can enjoy life's littlest moments."
"Be confident in yourself and not let anyone else tell you that you are any less than what you are. Imposter Syndrome is real in the workplace for women, and sometimes, you may feel out of place. Don’t feel this way, because you got this!!"
"I'm underestimated a lot. I don't know if there's just something about me that gives off a "you don't belong here" or a "you don't know what you're doing" vibe to others, but it's like I have to constantly fight twice as hard for people to give me a chance. That's been a thing for as long as I can remember, even as a little kid. This shaped my personality so that I have this drive to prove people wrong. It sucks to be underestimated, but I use it to fuel myself at this point..."
"Surround yourself with people that believe in you and support your goals and dreams. Find yourself a mentor and mentor somebody else. This can remarkably change your life. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. No matter what goals you are working towards, take a moment to appreciate how far you have come and don't forget to take care of yourself and to be happy."
"I never thought I would become a programmer. It absolutely was not in my field of view when I was in high school, but at the end of my junior year a teacher asked me if I would take AP Computer Science for my senior year because they needed more girls in the class for a grant. I decided to try it out, really not thinking much of it, but I'm so glad that I took that random opportunity that presented itself to me. Turns out the chance I took on a random course became the rest of my life ..."
"Never underestimate yourself. As women, we often limit ourselves and think that we are not capable of doing things that we dream of. But one thing is for sure- the sky is limit. If you can dream it, you can do it. And if you live by that, you will be able to make so much more of your life. I know that I still have a long way to go, but I know that all I need to do is believe in myself and anything is possible. Embrace your true potential and just go for it ..."
"It's okay to fail and you will fail often! It's also okay to completely change your mind and your path however many times you need to."
"There is a lot of pressure, especially for women, to take on all these roles and expect more from yourself than is reasonable. I’d like to remind the women here, and myself honestly, to be kind to yourself. It is okay to say no. It is okay to fail. Your journey does not have to look like everyone else’s and that is actually awesome. We are all unique, we all take different paths, and we all have different strengths. It can be beneficial to take responsibilities off your plate."
"I have been interested in programming since a young age. However, when I began to learn more about programming in my sophomore year of high school, I was overcome with a sense of imposter syndrome as I looked at my peers, light-years ahead of me. I often felt out of place, and I began to doubt whether I was cut out for programming. I always found myself being mentored by my peers, and I began to believe I would never match their knowledge..."
“I’m a varsity athlete, artist, programmer, gamer and farmer and I also have my own game company, JCSoft Inc. A current junior at MIT, I’m exploring game design, programming, animation, and sound design while trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life. I thrill in injecting horror and laughter into the 2D immersive experiences I create, and as a result of too many late nights up and my never-ending curiosity, I’ve created 50+ games..."
"The most important thing to me is to never give up. There will always be people, circumstances, or more which can hold you back from doing what you want. However, you need to keep going and do your best to achieve you goals. Nothing is easy, but with hard work and determination, you can do anything! Don't let anyone hold you back."
"Someone who inspires me greatly is Hillary Clinton. She is one of my many female inspirations who I look towards and aspire to be like. Her confidence is unshakable and her role, as a woman in government, is necessary and encouraging. One of my favorite quotes from Clinton is, 'Women’s rights, are human rights.'"
"Don't be afraid to reach out to someone who inspires you or interests you. The best way for us to learn how to succeed is to learn from other people. I have met an incredible amount of inspiring and incredibly talented people who I am happy to call my mentors."
Dr. Fon Powell, PhD
"During my first year of grad school, I had an older male professor tell me I wasn't cut out to be at Weill Cornell. Rather than listen to him, I persisted"
"One major challenge I faced was being introverted and an activist. When you think of an activist, you typically think of someone who is loud and outspoken. I was always a more introverted person. It took me a long time to figure out that you can be an activist without fitting the typical mold of an activist. I have started to become a more outspoken person and while it is helpful, it certainly isn’t necessary to have an impact on the world."
"I'm just some kid with dreams of California from Richmond Hill, Ontario. I'm a hackathon veteran with a current total of fourteen, including three second place prizes that happened to be from consecutive hackathons. I'm currently planning my own (THacks), and I also run a lot of events in the city and teach lessons at my school. I work part time a web developer (I used to work during the summer) and clean code makes me very happy. I consider my hackathon to be my education (and of course, work
"I want most women to know that they should never let anyone make them feel like they’re not good enough or that they can’t succeed. I have had the privilege of working with a diverse group of people from various backgrounds. However, not everyone has had this privilege. In fields like technology that are dominated by men, it can be easy to question your abilities as a woman. No man/woman/person should determine how you feel about yourself."
"Someone who inspires me is Grace Hopper. She inspires me to keep pushing forward despite the hardships that come my way."
"My name is Courtney Rogers and I am a third year Computational Media major at Georgia Tech. I aspire to work with a company that works toward making computing more of a day-to-day appliance, so that its users can transform more day-to-day possibilities into realities. With my frontend development skills (such as animation, web development, and awesomeness), I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do, but I’ll probably love it."
"My swim team greatly emphasizes gratitude, because when there are big races you can’t be nervous if you are grateful. I think gratitude motivates the effort I put into everything I do. When I enter a class, for example, I pretend that class is for my major, because I am so grateful to have the opportunity to learn, that I believe the professor deserves my full attention and complete focus for the course..."
"My name is Michelle, and I’m currently a junior at Duke majoring in CS. I’m really interested in the intersection between technology and social impact; to that end, I co-direct HackDuke, the nation’s largest collegiate hackathon addressing social good. We bring in engineers and high impact non-profits and sponsors to create innovative products and projects, and put on various initiatives throughout the year that emphasize cross-disciplinary creation and exploration within the Duke developer..."
Melanie Jane Pascual
"I’m a huge social justice advocate and one of the main reasons I loved code is that you can use it to help society. I lost track of why I liked technology when I first started college because it wasn’t as prevalent and I didn’t know anyone else who was as passionate and excited as I was. This all changed when I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration last year, I was inspired by everyone who was there and all the cool work everyone was doing that I remembered why I loved to code..."
" #BeYourself. I’ve never been overly concerned with trying to “fit in” with what “the crowd” is doing. I try to be true to my own interests and values, and that has allowed me to connect with people I genuinely relate to rather than attempting to keep up with an image that wouldn’t really be who I am. It’s a tough philosophy to stick to during certain years of adolescence, but I think having a sense of individualism has served me well."
"Take a genuine interest in others because you have the power to change their lives."
"life is a rollercoaster ride. Enjoy it! If you want to be successful in life, you are bound to take risks and make sacrifices- never ever repent your decisions."
"I’m so proud that people count on Daily Dress Me day after day. I am constantly getting emails from people saying they were so glad to find Daily Dress Me and that it has made their mornings (and lives) so much better. Because of them, I get to wake up every morning and work on a product that I know people love."
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My paternal grandparents inspire me with their incredible life experiences. Even though I’m unable to communicate with them due to language barriers, I’m so amazed by their dedication to creating a better life for themselves and their children. They also live such simple, different lives to mine that I find it is always transformative to visit them, living without technology in the middle of a street market.
Mikaela Helene Ocampo Reyes
"In the words of Dweck herself, “Becoming is better than being” and so enjoy the path you take to fulfill your dreams as well!"
"Even the failed attempt was an attempt many others didn’t make, at least you are one attempt ahead of them. So failure should never be a reason to quit something, which you have inspired of. Keep giving your best and everything would just fall into place. Believe in what you do, if you have reasons of doing something, then do it, else doing it for someone else would never bring you any good."
"I must be honest to say that I did not know what computer scientists do before college. Having no technical background and starting from zero in my first year of college was absolutely a challenge. Learning the computer scientist’s way of thinking was very
difficult. I struggled and felt unconfident. By talking with many friends in this field, I learned that none of them had an easy time at the beginning of their careers. Knowing struggling is a part of the learning experience, I decided..."
"Although work and/or homework is critical, one must be able to set aside a few hours a week to dedicate to family and to yourself. This is helpful as it helps cope with stress."
"I think tech is at its best when we use it to positively affect the world around us and I want to use my career to do just that."
"Being a minority in this field, I struggle with Imposter Syndrome like many others. But instead of settling and giving up, I let this doubt push me even harder and become more knowledgeable and confident."
" I know it sometimes feel that you are the odd one in the crowd. But I assure you the number of women in Computer Science has been increasing and will continue to do so. Never ever let yourself believe that you do not belong here only because you are the minority. Reach out to women across the world through different channels. With strong networks being created, I am sure you will definitely find someone out there, who will guide you when you need them and assure you that you are not alone!"
"Prioritize your mental health. If that means dropping a commitment that is causing you more stress than benefit, do it. Take time for yourself, spend time on activities that make you happy or with people you love. Sleep! If you need to seek help to stay mentally healthy, don’t be afraid to reach out. No matter how successful you are, you need to put yourself first."
"I’ve always been shy and bookish, which meant that I often felt weird and out of place while I was growing up — like I was on the periphery of some fabulous party that I hadn’t been invited to. However, I never considered trying to change what made me happy, and I’m so grateful to my younger self for that. In college, I’ve found people who are like me and don’t think I’m an antisocial freak because I genuinely enjoy school and other nerdy pursuits. Hang on to what makes you *you*"
"YOU are in control of your life. It’s very hard to change even when you’re unhappy with life, but only you can fix that."
"I’ve learned a ton from actively trying to be part of the communities/networks in my field. This means asking a lot of questions, joining conversations, and contributing knowledge when I feel it’s the right time and place. Being supported has gotten me a long way, and if you can find support that will be a major help (and if you don’t know how, ask)! But most importantly, giving back to the people who support you can foster incredible relationships and help you reign in your own way."
"Don’t stay too comfortable for too long. It’s important to stay challenged and out of your comfort zone because this feeling of imposter syndrome will push you forward in ways that you may never imagine. The instant you start to settle and become stifled with life is when your personal growth and individual learning may plateau. The second piece of knowledge I would like to impart (given to me by a friend) is to never let your alleged life plan get in the way of a good opportunity..."
"Don’t be afraid of failure, in fact fail more often. I would rather have failed at something instead of never having the courage to try at it."
"Especially during my sophomore year, I felt like I “didn’t belong” in CS. I didn’t quite “get it” in classes a lot of the time, and I felt bad for having to rely on others so often. But then I made the decision to re-explore an area I do feel confident in, and that’s design. I realized that designing with an understanding of both the technical side and the human side is what I was meant to do, and it was so liberating knowing that I didn’t have to force myself to fit into some cookie cutter..."
"Sometimes you have to think of creative ways to do what I call “poking the universe” and seeing what happens. Life is too short not to create your own interesting diversions. Sit down for one hour and write a list of wonky things you could do just to see what would happen. One thing a friend of mine has done is go around to different restaurants and cafes asking for free food since she loves trying new food. Surprisingly, the response was much more in the positive than she expected!"
"I am a Ph.D. Student, in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University. My research interests are in the fields of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and Data Mining."
"As cheesy as it sounds, I often used to shy away from attempting thing or count myself out because I didn’t believe I was qualified enough to even try. I realize now that although I may not be the best at programming or anything else for that matter, not trying pretty much guarantees failure."
"I didn’t decide I wanted to study CS until about halfway through college. At this point I felt like I was far behind my peers and that I had to “prove myself” as a computer scientist, a fear that in hindsight I realize is shared by many. I took a fake-it-til-you-make-it approach and threw myself into my schoolwork. I think I finally had a moment of clarity near the end of my intro systems class. Completing the class’s final project — implementing a heap allocator — was the first time I..."
"When I came into college freshman year, I felt like I was worlds behind everyone else due to the lack of a CS department at my high school. When I was assigned a mentor through the WiCS organization at UT she turned my thinking around. She showed me that there were so many ways I could get involved and learn — from hackathons to mobile app development orgs on campus. She showed me how to embrace my newness and discover my passions. She is working full time now at Microsoft in Seattle..."
"Someone who inspires me is Margaret Hamilton, the first time I had even heard of her was a picture online of her standing next to all the code she wrote that made the Apollo 11 mission possible. Just thinking about how she succeeded despite software engineering not being taken seriously and all the difficulty she faced really inspires me."
"Mark Twain once noted that, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and that quote has stuck with me over the years. There will always be someone smarter, faster, or farther ahead than you are, but who cares! If you’re paying attention to what someone else is doing, then you’ve taken your eyes off your own goals. Nothing is more empowering than focusing on yourself and your own development, and nothing will bring you more fulfillment. Someone once told me to “Say yes to the adventure,” and..."
"Admit and accept your failures. Failures are not talked about because they’re seen as shameful, something that we need to hide, but honestly, we all fail sometimes. When you look back at what you’ve done, you’ll be proud to see how far you’ve come since those failures."
"Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. What’s important is to own up to them, see what you did wrong, improve, and move on."
"Learn to advocate for yourself, it’s ok to be afraid, just build a network you can lean on when you need support."
"I spend a lot of time planning my education and my life so that I will have direction & can achieve certain goals. While I think it is extremely important to make plans, I understand that not everything will go as planned. This took me a while to realize, and it is amazing to see how something I really wanted to happen didn’t, but in the end doors opened for even better opportunity. Always remember to control the things you can, but don’t freak out if you don’t get what you expected out of it."
"Reading schematics which look a bit like hieroroglypics on steroids was a a little tough at first but after using software like EAGLE CAD, watching Youtube tutorials and looking up data sheets of components I was able to to reverse engineer something like say an Arduino to understand how the connections on the board are made."
Kahli Marie Holmes
"The most memorable challenge I can recall is a short period of time when I doubted myself, and my intellectual ability. I remember that lack of confidence not only hindering my state of mind, but the work I put on the table. I eventually overcame this phase with time and hard work, and a simple realization that you should never fear what you don’t know."
"Throw yourself into every exciting opportunity that comes your way. I have regretted times when I have hesitated to apply for something I wanted, or have been too scared to fail or waste my time. And not just for coding — travel and talk to strangers, read something outside of your intellectual comfort zone, email your role models, and know that you are worth it."
"Never stop learning. Not only the kind of knowledge you get from books, but learning from interacting with other people of different ages and cultures. Appreciate all the value they constantly add to your general knowledge through their stories, their own knowledge and experiences. Take all that, process it, try to be your better self and repeat."
"Keep learning. Work on things you’re passionate about. Surround yourself with people that support you. Most importantly, breathe and take time to look at the world around you. Have fun and don’t forget to laugh."
"My biggest knowledge I’d like to give to other women would be to not be afraid of trying new things. When I came into college, I had no interest in programming or Electrical Engineering. I was very set on becoming a doctor and was very resistant to anything other than medicine. But once I changed my mindset a little, attended Hackathons, and taught myself how to code, I started to see a future for myself in Electrical Engineering, and honestly it has opened so many doors for myself."
"Never give up. Surround yourself with people who you can be totally honest with. A support system is everything. If you don’t get an opportunity you were hoping for (whether it’s a job or something personal), trust that it didn’t work out because the universe has something better in store for you. And when you do succeed, know that it’s because of y-o-u, not some magical anomaly in the universe."
"You don’t need to be in a position of fame and fortune to be a powerful woman who truly REIGNS over her life. Everyone reigns in different ways, and the sooner you see the potential of your unique gifts and the particular environment you’ve been placed in, the sooner you can get to reigning your life. You don’t need to wait for a certain age or anything! Most importantly, don’t forget to keep in mind that being able to REIGN your life does not mean you’re perfect."
"Lean in or out as much as you can, to the best of your ability. Your experience is unique and so are those of other women. Do the best that you can and listen to other women. They are not your enemy and they are not your competition. Support each other. Women of color, trans women, disabled women..they all can REIGN and frankly, we need all womyn to fix the tech industry. Keep going and keep kicking ass. By being you, you’re making a change."
"Keep learning. Work on things you’re passionate about. Surround yourself with people that support you. Most importantly, breathe and take time to look at the world around you. Have fun and don’t forget to laugh."
"The advice I have for other women would be to find what you really love to do because if you really love what you do, then every second, every ounce of energy, and every bit of hard work you invest into it will be worth it."
"My mom and dad have been true inspirations to me. My mom graduated from UT Austin with a degree in Mathematics; Even before it was cool for women to be in STEM! They have shown me the importance of getting a degree and working hard to achieve your goals. My parents have also been the best support group that I could ever imagine!"
"Work hard to stand out at your current stage in your career or education, so that the coolest opportunities are available to you (and make sure to keep an eye out for them!)"
"Own your strong skills and build on your weaknesses. Be proud of what you can do, continuously learn and be sure to reach out to others when you need help. We’re all out here to help each other and succeed together, so don’t be afraid to make that connection."
"Act like it’s impossible to fail and have fun!"
"After being on sports teams all my life, I know the importance and benefits of being surrounded by positive, like-minded people with a common goal. I took this attitude and applied it at Villanova University not only while on the rowing team, but also by founding Villanova Women in Computer Science — this gave me a place in college to grow with, to learn from and to support always the outstanding women majoring in CS."
"Due to my transparent and direct style of communication, I’ve often been called sassy, bossy, intense — you name it. Occasionally this has bothered me, but most of the time I take into stride. I know that by speaking up for myself and making sure I get what I need to succeed and thrive, I am positively affecting the situation at hand. It’s much harder to make a positive contribution if you aren’t being treated fairly, so demand fairness and then give it all you got."
"Whenever I start a new internship, it’s always tough to learn everything that’s thrown at you so fast. I always try to understand a company’s tech infrastructure, which can be very difficult if the company is mature. In general, I find it’s useful to ask questions on anything that’s unclear, and drawing diagrams can really help. :)"
"You must start within. Building your happy place internally is the key to finding success in everything you do in life. Your heart, soul, and mindset can be your best friend or your number one enemy. You get to decide!"
"I remember starting to build a Google Glass application for my research project without any prior experience with Glass and only after 2 introductory CS classes — it was pretty intimidating. I worked alongside my partner and talked through our thought processes, just taking baby steps. Google and Stack Overflow literally became my two bffs for the summer."
"Do something new every day and learn something new every day! It doesn’t have to be big, but stay spontaneous and curious :)"
"Don’t be afraid to fail; with failure is growth. Don’t let the bumps along the way deter you from what you really want to do with your life. We all have to fail to know what success feels like (and enjoy it)!"
"Failure is just as helpful and positive as success. This is something I learned from Girls Who Code. Success only teaches that you are good at something and you have worked hard. Failure teaches what you are not good at and perhaps it also teaches you what you don’t like. It sheds light on aspects of yourself that were perhaps unknown. So fail. Then fail again. And then fail once more and a hundred times more. This does not make you any less intelligent or less worthy. It makes you courageous."
"In sophomore year I had a bug I couldn’t track down in a coding assignment. It was 10 minutes to the deadline and I had been looking at it for hours and still couldn’t find it. In a fit of passion, I deleted the whole assignment, and rewrote the entire thing from scratch. With two minutes to the deadline, I ran the assignment and it worked flawlessly. It is still one of my proudest coding moments."
"My advice to women going through their engineering degree or trying to figure out if engineering is their cup of tea, is to just be yourself. I can’t tell you that engineering and computer science is the right field for you, but if you find yourself enjoying it, then it should absolutely be something you consider. You can’t let anything or anyone discourage you from pursuing your dreams and interests."
"Impostor syndrome is so real. Don’t let those feelings of self-doubt take over and discourage you. Be patient but persistent; it takes time and hard work to gain skill and confidence, but you’ll get there with the right attitude. As an engineer, you never stop learning–and that’s what makes this field so exciting. So embrace the learning process and celebrate your accomplishments!"
"My current one is ideal. I get to pick research topics I like, teach smart students about what I love and mentor graduate students in their research. Plus, I have a VERY flexible schedule."
"Work hard and don’t give up! It’s easy to be scared off by stereotypes and thinking that you can’t do something because you don’t fit the stereotype that is associated with a programmer, lawyer, whatever it is you want to do or are interested in. Defy stereotypes — it only makes you stronger!"
"I will also encourage more girls to go for what they want and let no one tell them they cannot because they are girls. If they want to pursue STEM careers then they should go for it!"
"I would say that I’ve learned just as much from supporting younger students/people just getting started in the tech industry than I have being supported by others. Also, being a part of communities that are open to healthy discourse and sharing knowledge is so incredibly important. Square Code Camp, Ladies Storm Hackathons, Women Who Tech, and the Women in CS group at Waterloo are just a few that I find great."
"Fear nothing. Always wear comfortable shoes. They are belittling you because they envy your success. Little drops of water, tiny grains of sand; make up the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land. Books over boys, chocolate over everything. Workout for at least 45 minutes every day. Dress up on your down days. Grow stronger every day."
"Having never worked on such a large-scale coding project before, I felt somewhat intimidated coming onto the Apparition team. I’ve mainly been working on making small component changes and additions which have made this project become an incredibly rewarding learning experience for me. My mentor has been a wonderful guiding resource to me as well, assisting me with problems that I find myself running into during development."
"Go after the big goals, the ones that feel important but also scare you a little bit (or a lot). Surround yourself with people that will always be honest with you and encourage you to grow, and be that person for others. Own your accomplishments and take credit for your work, but don’t forget to advocate for others who don’t have the same access to opportunities as you do."
"Passion will be your greatest motivator and most important reward; Everything else can be learned. 2.) Networking is just a fancy name for meeting interesting people and expanding your own horizons by getting to hear about their journeys. It will lead to some of your greatest friendships and most important mentorships. 3.) Stay humble, never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes I get this feeling like my life is playing with fire, and that’s when I know I’m growing..."
"Something that has been hugely helpful for me is advice that my mom gave me: “Say yes and figure it out later.” When I was younger, I spent a lot of time coming up with excuses for why I couldn’t or shouldn’t seize an opportunity or take on a challenge. Learning to be okay with feeling scared can be a major struggle, but the more you put yourself in spaces that make you feel uncomfortable, the more confident you’ll become."
"Know the biases. Our brains are wired to categorize and generalize. Most people do not want to have biases and do not think they have one. Our biases summarize all the information we get. Unfortunately, sometimes these biases are not accurate and do not serve our purpose. It is not possible not to have any biases at all but since we grow up with it, it blends into the background."
"I love coding, and I love helping others, whether it’s humans or the Earth humans live on. I have no idea where that will take me in the future, but I know those are two things I would definitely want to be doing."
"I think the thing that isn’t stressed enough is to have a support system in place. I’ve met so many talented, tough, and smart girls that have no problem going after their dreams. Everyone has bad days though, no matter how good you are. It’s important, then, to surround yourself with people who support you and will cheer you up on these days. For me, that’s my parents, friends, and NCWIT, an award given to girls in high school and college–there’s a Facebook group for the winners..."
"I got introduced to Computer Science so late in my career and have developed a passion for it over time. Wishing I knew more about it in the past, I would like to see more girls code while still in high school and choose technical fields out of passion after they have engaged with it."
"Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. In the classic words of Hannah Montana “Nobody’s perfect” and pretending to be above mistakes will only make life painful. Other people make mistakes too and they will relate to you better if you are familiar with your own vulnerabilities."
"Reflect and respect the past but always keep moving forward. I’ve realized that although the path of life may not be clear; and at times I have definitely become discouraged, know that you are resilient and you will come out stronger from these experiences!"
"Deciding who I want to be was always a challenge. I have always known that I love math. My decision to major in statistics ultimately set my course."
"Read blogs like this! Don’t stop learning. There are so many resources out there to help you on your path to cultivating your ideal career. Read. Listen. Keep expanding your skills regardless of whether they’re related; not only is it fun, but you never know when they’ll come in handy. And most importantly, network. Keep making new friends. Everyone has wisdom to impart. When people in your network are building their brand/product be the first to support them."
Jenny Jacobs Berk
"Stay present, stay embodied and stay focused on your goals. Find your strengths and be confident in them but don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Be supported by and support other women in realizing their dreams and successes."
"Until I got to Emory, I had never considered myself to be a particularly math-oriented person. I was surprised to find that classes like biostatistics and epidemiology came really naturally to me, and I even learned to code in SAS (which is a type of statistical analysis software). The decision to pursue the MPH completely shifted the course of my path, and I’m so glad that I took the time to walk through my options with that professor as an undergrad. Who knows where I’d be now if I hadn’t!"
"There is always room to grow but it’s also important to understand that we are different and we just need to keep working hard and our time will come. We’re doing better than we realize. Bringing others down and comparing ourselves to them won’t get us anywhere."
"I started my own non-profit, Project Touch, to help financially disadvantaged children with autism through the use of iPod Touches and iPads."
"To all the women, and everyone out there, don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t fit in because you don’t fit the stereotypical description, whether it’s in tech or anywhere else. You go do you, own it and REIGN it :)"
"Honestly, coding didn’t “click” until just recently. It took an intense summer internship, several college courses, and studying Cracking the Code for hours before it all really made sense. However, it was all worth it. I can now switch between programming languages with ease."
"Don’t let anyone stereotype you. What people say and what they don’t, in the end, doesn’t matter. I don’t fit into a lot of boxes, and I’m happier that way, but most people didn’t take me seriously when I started in computer science. I’m female, and I’m also into fashion. I like wearing makeup and dresses and heels, and so sometimes people (both male and female) overlook me or assume that I’m the designer in the room, maybe not even in the right room."
"I am incredibly inspired by social entrepreneurship, and one of my role models is Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America and Teach for All. Through persistence, confidence and dedication, this female leader not only gave prominence to non-profit jobs, but made teaching underprivileged children a competitive, impactful and rewarding career path. I experienced this while volunteering for over four years at a village school in India, where I designed a sustainable energy initiative."
"By day, I work at a women’s coding school called Hackbright Academy in San Francisco. By night, I organize Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners — we’ve hosted over 100 fun dinners for girl geeks at companies!"
"My biggest advice would be: to reign your life, you need to learn to let go of the past, especially of remarks that might be hurtful and that would diminish your self-confidence. For example, if you are a woman in STEM, people might claim that your success is due to affirmative action. Learn to let go of such remarks and forgive people. Reigning you life will be the best revenge anyway."
"My biggest challenges related to computer science are through my work as a TA. It’s an entry-level class so I teach a really diverse group of students: everyone is coming from different backgrounds and everyone is taking the class for a different reason, and everyone learns differently. It’s hard to take all the course material, condense it into hour-long pieces, and then present it in a way that is accessible and relevant to everyone."
"I’ve taken some risks that looked more promising to me than other people in my life. Ultimately, they have worked out well, and I think the thing that helped was to have a good idea of what drives me. For example, I know I need to have meaning in my work and have a great team who I really trust. When I believe in what I’m doing and like who I’m working with, I’m going to be better at what I do, and that’s going to help me succeed."
"Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. This is something that I’m working towards daily. I often find it challenging to speak up in situations that make me uncomfortable. However, I have learned that if you don’t prioritize yourself, no one will. This isn’t to say the world revolves around your personal needs and desires, but that you should never be afraid to speak up for yourself."
"Don’t be afraid to be imperfect or fail, especially when you have nothing to lose. When you are looking at a company or a scholarship and believe there is no way you will get it — just apply anyways. At worst you won’t get the internship or scholarship. There is no way to know without applying. When you want someone to be your mentor and you don’t know how to ask for it, then ask them. I always believe rejecting yourself is worse than having the other party reject you."
"Keep an open mind and stay curious. Try new ways of doing things. Lots of possibilities and opportunities open up when you take risks and let go of fear. At BMW, being thrown into a department of 18 people — all being men — I admit was rather intimidating at first. However, I like to keep asking myself, “What next?” so I can continue to challenge myself, conquer new projects, and grow in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise expected."
"Don’t take things too seriously and know how to balance school with the things you love. Yes, school is important, but so is taking care of yourself. Find what makes you happy and do it."
"While it’s important to try new things, explore new territories, and take on new commitments, make sure to leave time for yourself. As someone who is always eager to take on new projects and responsibilities, I have learned the importance of making sure to reserve time to be yourself. Reserve half an hour to call your family, take time to laugh with your friends, and let yourself be alone and relax. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in everything happening..."
"After realizing subjects surrounding computer science is my calling I began to realize that my gender and socioeconomic standing affected my choice of study. My high school did not offer and computer science courses so how was I supposed to know I loved it so much? I’m glad that I was able to find new opportunities with my college education."
"Be fearless. Try something new. It will help you get to know yourself better and find your place in the world. Just like the great Taylor Swift had said: “fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.”"
"Never been to a hackathon, run a marathon, written a short story, or tried to build your own company? Don’t wait for someone to invite you to do these things, don’t wait for more experience, don’t wait for a sign. If these things are what you want, just do them. Yes, you may not know what you’re doing initially and you might even suck, but you’ll ask for help or learn from your mistakes, and the only thing you can do from then onwards is to get better."
"If you want to try Computer Science, and are scared, just go for it. It will work out.
This field opens a lot of doors. You make cool stuff. You meet cool, smart, people."
"A lot of times I get asked why I like Computer Science — my answer is always that even though it’s incredibly powerful and creative, it also has helped me become a better person. It has taught me to love myself through my failures, disappointments, rejections, broken code, and mistakes."
"Shed your inhibitions — don’t be afraid to experiment with new things, don’t feel shy in reaching out to people and learning new things whether you succeed or fail. The only failure is not trying at all."
"In life’s most vulnerable moments, there are no job titles, varsity letters, or good grades to help you along — you are revealed exactly for who you are, completely raw and at your very essence. Who do I want to be in these moments?"
"Absolutely never be afraid to go after your goals!! You are never too young, too old, or too whatever. Just start in the best way that you know how. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, you will have endless success."
"Be true to yourself and discover your passions. Do not think you are a lesser to men. Women have the power to shake and move mountains collectively! We can change the landscape of the workforce/entrepreneurship and drive to the mountaintop in heels! Don’t try to fit yourself into a minority box. You have the ability to break barriers and the glass ceiling:) Keep fighting the good fight."
"I think you shouldn’t be afraid to care about what you care about. Sometimes I’m intimidated by the fact that I’m not someone whose done incredibly technical projects in my spare time, and I don’t have all the jargon and knowledge of more intense coding hobbyists. But I think that’s ok. We’re allowed to be more than 100% Computer People… while still being successful and powerful in our field :)"
"I discovered I was interested in tech more recently, in the past year, and I felt that it was too late for me to learn how to code or that I would never be able to be successful in tech. Some of my close friends really supported me and helped me learn how to develop an app, and encouraged me to take hard but really useful CS courses at school. Although the learning curve is steep, I feel empowered by pushing myself to learn skills that will help me find my way in my dream career."
"One of the most challenging things that I’ve had to overcome (and am still trying to overcome) in life is my personal insecurity. As an only child, I didn’t know that many people when I was little. I had a hard time fitting in and finding close friends. For the longest time, I thought that there was a problem with me. That the reason why I didn’t have many friends was because I just wasn’t likable. I had to learn over time how to just be myself and content with who I am."
"Whether it’s debugging, encountering new and unfamiliar topics, or meeting deadlines I constantly have to remind myself that I’ll get through it. Perseverance is key in life, but it’s especially important in computer science. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” In my opinion, this applies to almost everything in life. When I’m struggling or ready to give up, I remind myself...."
"Don’t give up easily on your dreams, if something seems difficult for you to grasp initially maybe try another way to learn it. If you can’t follow the book, watch a video, join a study group, just be inventive!"
"I grew up in without much exposure to engineering, and after high school I was convinced I could not ever understand basic electrical principles. I started to overcome that lack of confidence by taking classes for electricians while I was still majoring in interior design. Those classes helped me realize that I could actually understand, and made me want to learn more."
"I have had a mystic attraction to computers ever since I was a child. I’ve always been interested in math and solving puzzles. In my senior year of secondary school, I had the opportunity to work as the computer laboratory attendant. At the time I started understanding how computers operate on a very detailed level, the fire in me started burning to the extent that my passion for computer grown to the apex."
"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."
"Don’t give up. I know it sounds so cheezy but it is true. There have been so many times I didn’t believe I had it in me to do it. I didn’t get it, or I wasn’t succeeding the way I wanted to be. But putting your head down and getting through the current hurdle will reap unexpected rewards. Just knowing that you can overcome when you wanted to quit and throw in the towel is empowering."
"Don’t stop. No matter what anyone says, no matter how many times you feel like you won’t succeed, no matter how many people are telling you to stop — don’t. As long as you have the drive and the passion to make the world a better place, you’ll succeed. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. I’ve seen so many women become intimated or feel inferior to others when they ask for help, so they would rather go through challenges alone & figure it out by themselves, but the truth is, asking for help."
" Imposter Syndrome is a major contributing factor to female attrition from STEM fields. Mentorship and community are two key ways to help women overcome the feelings associated with Imposter Syndrome. In my role as a Teaching Assistant, I try to inspire confidence in my female students and provide extra support if necessary to make sure that they feel comfortable in the class and in the industry. Through Penn Women in Computer Science, I help to build a community of female engineers who ..."
"Don’t doubt yourself! Don’t be afraid of the unknown and take all the opportunities you get. I learned this the hard way. There have been so many times when I have cheated myself of an opportunity just because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I was too scared to even try. There was no point because in my mind I had already accepted defeat. And after walking past way too many open doors, I finally realized nothing should be keeping me from giving myself a chance. The more shots I took, the..."
"At my old school, I was pretty severely bullied. I was cyberbullied, verbally bullied, physically attacked four separate times, & sat alone at lunch every day. I felt awful about myself during that time and was always so afraid to go to school because I never knew if I was going to be hurt again. However, once I was able to transfer schools, I made it my duty to always invite kids sitting alone to my table. This small action really made a huge difference in their lives and some of those kids.."
"In Senegal, I met a group of women who would pool their extra earnings together at the end of each month and each person would share her idea of how they could spend the money. Sometimes, the idea would benefit the entire group and other times it would fill a need for an individual person. Each month, they would vote and invest their earnings together in that one idea."
"Be your own best friend and embrace times of loneliness. Loneliness can be scary but taking the time to reflect and being honest with yourself can help you realize so many things about yourself you didn’t even know. If it weren’t for times of solitude, I wouldn’t have thought that I loved teaching children. I grew the most when I was forced to be alone and when I, literally, sat myself down and reflected on what I want to do. You aren’t clouded with expectations and you don’t limit yourself."
Nora Poggi & Insiyah Saeed
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Nora: Not being able to find a job nor a visa to stay in the US in 2012, which led me to take the biggest risk of my life and creating this documentary film on women entrepreneurs, she started it. The challenge forced me to face myself and what I really wanted to do — instead of looking for a job, I ended up creating my own, but it took more than 3 years to get there!
"It was not until the second semester that I finally abandoned my flawed mentality and started attending tutoring hours more often. I realized that I actually learned more by interacting with other students and that it is okay to not have an answer to every question. Now, I have a group of people that I work with to solve p-sets."
"As a computer science student and English learner I faced and still deal sometimes with some trouble’s integrating what I had learned and solving problems quickly. Some of the steps I am taking to fix this challenge is to practice solving more problems, I am using some websites to practice, as well Cracking the Code book."
" Be brave. Be adventurous! Notice when someone is kind, going out of their way to help you, and respond in kind. One of my favourite quotes comes from the French poet Sylvain Tesson — “To live is to make your dreams’ souvenirs” (roughly translated). What are your dreams? Figure it out and start collecting."
"Do what scares you. Take a leap of faith. Push your limits. Learn your worth. Reach out for help when you need it. You are amazing, talented, ambitious, and smart — now show the world what you’re capable of."
"My mother taught me that it’s important to listen to how people grow with each experience, become better people and contribute more to others around them, making it a better world for everyone. My sister taught me that hard work and perseverance are the key to success."
"It’s important to trust yourself because you can receive the support of everyone around you, but ultimately it’s up to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you are capable of achieving your dreams and chasing after your goals. At the end of the day, the person who believes in you the most should be you. If you’re reading this, YOU’RE AMAZING!"
"My parents are my inspiration. They came to America as refugees and worked hard to support themselves and eventually, me and my sister. They instilled in me an appreciation for education, hard work and resourcefulness."
"I was hesitant to study computer science since I was worried about other people’s opinions, so I ended up not taking the introductory computer science course until the spring of my sophomore year. I immediately realized how much I enjoyed the subject material and that as long as I was doing something I was enjoying, what others think doesn’t matter. Since then, I picked up a double major, and began teaching myself through side projects. I’m really grateful for the people that encouraged me..."
" #resilient As a first generation college student I struggled with balancing my family and education. There were a lot of obstacles, but with each obstacle I grew stronger and matured. I believe that if you keep staying positive then you can overcome any block in the road."
"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!"
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My mom! She moved to the US at 21 by herself and started working on her own to pay off her father’s mortgage in India. She’s taught me the importance of humility, and how gratifying and beneficial it can be to share your wealth and success with others. She’s also taught me to take every opportunity, no matter how terrifying, and always go all in.
"Be life’s student. Achieve the impossible. Never stop learning. Every obstacle you face and overcome is only helping you get closer to your goal. If you’re presented with an obstacle it’s because you can and will overcome it but more importantly, you’re going to learn something valuable from your experience."
"It is okay to say no! It can be easy sometimes to keep piling on responsibilities — often because every opportunity sounds interesting, and you keep convincing yourself that you can handle all of it. But it’s more important to know yourself and your personal limits, and do what works for you. For example, if you know you need at least 6 hours of sleep a night, make that a priority and fulfill it."
"I encourage you to learn from others outside of your team. For example, write about root causes of bugs or downtime of your service, even if you don’t understand it completely at first. Writing it out will force you to understand the root cause more, maybe learn from the other teams if they were involved, and improve your technical writing skills. Last but not least, share your write up in a forum you see fit."
"I love this reflection from Cheryl Strayed: “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”"
"So far, we have taught hundreds of middle school and high school students computer-science related courses using the six strategies. If you would like to read the six strategies, you can read them here: http://nowknowguide.com/six- strategies"
"Confidence is so important, and “faking it ’til I made it” took me very far. From being confident about my answers on an assignment, to being confident as I walked into my internship for the first time and knowing I’d probably be the only woman in the room, I knew that I had to act like I belonged; because I do belong and I worked hard to be here. I think it’s important to also remind yourself that you love what you do. It doesn’t matter what field you are trying to conquer."
"It doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender is, or what the color of your skin may be. You are special. People will try to take away from your credentials and put down your successes, but celebrate all the good and the bad that occur because it’s what makes you who you are. Work hard, stay happy."
"Be your whole self. Many times, I’ve felt self-conscious at a technical meeting if I have brightly colored nails or a dress on in fear of standing out too much and being judged. I’ve realized this past year, especially after hearing inspirational keynotes delivered by Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington, just how ridiculous that fear is. The time I could be spending on coding and learning is instead spent on worrying about what others are thinking of me."
Oyom, Ada Nduka
"We are ladies, meant to create, nurture and lead. Living the stereotypic life is old fashioned….It’s our time to lead."
"Entering CS, or any new field, can be daunting when you compare yourself to others who are more experienced than you. It’s easy to fall into that rut of imposter syndrome where you feel like everyone else is judging you and you have to be perfect. But being perfect is unrealistic–and overrated! Failure is a major part of challenging yourself and learning how to rebound quickly to a success is what makes you grow. So, fail often, but fail smart."
"Learn to be comfortable in being uncomfortable. Ever wanted to go to your first hackathon but felt like you’re not good enough to contribute? Go to one anyways, I promise you won’t regret the experience. Is there someone you look up to but was always too shy to approach him/her? Just go up and start talking to them. Don’t be afraid to take up opportunities that will help you grow as a developer and a person!"
"find a mentor…. Find someone who has been there, done that- and ask them questions. Any and all questions:)"
"I skipped two years of high school, took seven months off to travel around the world after sophomore year of college, speak four languages, and lived on three continents."
"I encourage women to take control of their circumstances and make the most out of what’s given. You get back in life what you give, and following that mantra has helped me in every aspect of my life. Also, it’s okay to not be sure of every step of your life. Life is all about growth, every opportunity or obstacle is a chance for growth — be willing to embrace it!"
"A “woman in tech” means being a pioneer. We are going through uncharted and risky waters, but we need to make sure that we continue to love what we do. As long as we continue to learn, we will be just as or even more successful as our gender counterparts. Gender should make no difference in how well we work. An engineer is someone who is open to new ideas and is capable of critically thinking their way out of a conflict. But as females in technology, we still get treated differently."
"My life journey would probably be defined by #teachTheKids as I am currently part of several organizations that educate young children, especially girls, and my love for CS started when my middle school CS teacher started a girls tech club in school!"
"Be honest, vocal, and supportive as often as you have the energy to do so. Being honest lets other women know that we’re all in this together, being vocal lets you describe what isn’t working for you and reminds us all of what we’re working for, and being supportive lets others do the same."
"I came back from attending Harvard’s WeCode Conference & was still in awe after hearing C.E.O. of Piazza, Pooja Sankar speak. Basically, Pooja Sankar wrote the prototype to Piazza (my saving grace for all of my CS classes) by taking advantage of the influence of collaboration. For anyone who has a dream and doubts themselves because of the lack of resources at hand, the direct impact collaboration has is extremely powerful. Piazza, is a resource students may use to post questions anonymously.."
"Make cool things. I swear there is nothing more satisfying than creating a new story, program, algorithm, character, properly curved cursive letter, or really anything. If you don’t know what to make, that’s okay. Inspiration is everywhere and you just gotta go out there and find it."
"I would like to share two of my rules that have helped me steer my life and career positively.
First, learn to let go the fear of making a mistake. Learn to avoid the paralysis by analysis trap. Time box your analysis, give weight to your instincts and learn to take the leap of faith.
Second, understand that most of our judgments of others are our own ego strategies to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Whenever you find yourself judging someone, please stop for a second and introspect..."
"I’ve always been fascinated by how people learn, by what creates that “a-ha” moment where the light bulb goes off. I wanted to learn how the computer graphics technology I learned in my undergrad could help in this process, and decided to do a master’s in Instructional Technology."
"It was the summer after my sophomore year in college, and I had just gathered two years of programming experience. At school, I was used to computer science material related to object-oriented programming, algorithms, some systems, and data science. Little did I know that during the internship after my second year, I would be working on engineering system tools. Much as I had trouble picturing myself as a back-end software engineer, I was thrilled to give it a shot. I was solving a problem..."
"Stop caring so much about what you think other people think or how they may be judging you. You have better things to do! Everyone is dealing with his or her own agenda and to-do lists and likely isn’t thinking that much about yours. Be bold, stand tall and most importantly, use your voice!"
Fanny Nina Paravecino
"Never believe that something is impossible; it is only very unlikely, and you can be the one that break the odds."
"Try something way out of your comfort zone! It’s so easy to focus only on Computer Science, but do something else for your own sanity. This semester I signed up for a salsa dancing class. I’m awful at it and frequently step on my partners’ feet. It’s also the best time of my week."
"Maintain your focus — your end goal. Only stray away from that goal for the things and people that really mean a lot to you — life is only so long, and you want to make your time count."
"You never stop learning, so seek out as much knowledge and as many experiences as you can throughout your life. Knowledge is power and all knowledge will prove its purpose at some point or another in your life."
"I think the biggest technical challenge I’ve faced was actually getting a job in tech. Sure, it’s hard for everyone to get work in The Valley, it’s not unlike making it in Hollywood; but given my background, upbringing, and age, I consider myself extremely lucky to be where I am today, doing what I’m doing. ...My parents divorced when I was 12, and I am the oldest of 4 children in my family. When my dad left, it quickly became my job to fill the void of the missing parent..."
"If I could give myself advice 4 years ago, I would say that persistence is key. Although at times being a women in tech is difficult, I found that hard work and dedication often pays off."
"Think for yourself. There have been many times when I’ve caught myself jumping in an argument and agreeing with the respected person on the team, but sometimes…they are just wrong. Take a step back, think for yourself, and only jump on the bandwagon if you believe it too. Otherwise, you need to voice your own concerns."
"Surround yourself around those who inspire you, challenge you, and respect you. Also, remember to do you, be you, and love you!"
"I am an Indian and have been in the United States since the beginning of my bachelor’s education. I hail from a small town where most people considered going out of the country for a Bachelors very absurd. However, my desire to study in this education system and thought that I would get more opportunities here brought me to the US. My grandfather’s belief in me to let me do what I want to and support made this possible. I came here in 2012 as a girl who barely knew anything about the country."
"My parents are from Tibet. I was born in Nepal and am currently living and working in New York City. I speak four languages and I am currently working on my fifth, which is Spanish.
I never grew up with a passion for technology where I saw myself making a career out of it; however, during my undergrad at Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, I took a course on management information systems which garnered my interest. I currently work as a Technical Analyst at a healthcare company..."
"Even though progress have been made to address the equality issues, a lot needs to be done. In my community girls are still being married off, and some get married at an early age. The society determines the career path of a woman and girls. For instance when I mentioned to my relatives that I plan on pursuing a degree in Computer Science, they discouraged me with all the theories and misconceptions surrounding girls and sciences."
"You must start within. Building your happy place internally is the key to finding success in everything you do in life. Your heart, soul, and mindset can be your best friend or your number one enemy. You get to decide!"
"I would tell women to never give up even though it sounds probably very cliche and obvious…it’s the truth. If you don’t believe in yourself then no one will. I would also tell women to try something different and to ultimately “take the road less traveled.”
Don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary."
"Find it in yourself to be intrinsically motivated to get up and do what you do every day. While competition is healthy and often times stimulating, you should strive to understand that comparing yourself to others should not be your main source of drive. Your goals should reflect how you intend to be a better version of yourself. Your life will be filled with challenges that test your strengths and weaknesses in all facets, and the best you can do is to figure out how to work on those."
"If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place."
"Everyone is unique, and everyone is invaluable in his/her own way. Don’t be washed away by the mass to believe that you aren’t an important individual. Everyone adds color to the world and makes an impact, you are one of them!"
"I was born and raised in Paris, France. I moved to New York to attend NYU, where I fell in love with code and majored in Computer Science. Since then, I’ve also become extremely passionate about education and teaching. I’ve been teaching children and adults to code for almost two years now with great organizations like ScriptEd, Women Who Code, Coalition for Queens, and Technovation I recently joined the Skillshare engineering team, where I get to help build an awesome product that has..."
"Believe in yourself, sister! Every expert was once a beginner and if they could learn or invent, you also can. So do positive self-talking to yourself often and be open to learning every day."
"I experienced a lot of sexism at a recent internship. Prior to that internship, I felt passionately about & promoted diversity in tech, but I somehow thought I wasn’t “personally impacted” by tech’s poor demographics myself, as if I was so accustomed to being a female-minority by now that I didn’t notice (very silly of me). That being said, during that internship, I certainly felt the discomfort of being in a male-dominated workplace that didn’t see value in promoting minority groups in tech."
"#DreamBig…I never imagined myself pursuing a technology career or even studying computer science in my undergraduate. However, this path has opened up so many different opportunities that now I am not quite sure which path to choose. Nevertheless, I always dream big and challenge myself, because I do not want to miss out on opportunities to learn."
"In founding the community for Native American Women in Computing, it is my dream and goal to do more with it. I would like to inspire Native American Women to explore Computer Science and give them the tools and support to help them be successful in this field. I would like to reach out to more tribal colleges, indigenous communities, and increase the number of Native women in tech. I would love to do workshops, hackathons, code-ins, & conferences with the Native community & grow involvement."
"Never stop to think about what’s possible — just go do it. And when you make it, pay it forward. If there’s one quote that really stays with me, it’s this one: “Be who you needed when you were younger.” Consider the the role model you wish you had and go be her!"
"I feel very lucky that encouragement didn’t come too late for me — it comes too late for many others, especially minority, underprivileged, or first generation students. As technologists, we need to be more aware of the huge difference encouragement makes; I’m privileged to have had the resources to tune out the voice in my head that’s told me that I’m not good enough. Otherwise I never would’ve declared — or stayed in — an engineering major."
Victoria Chibuogu Nneji
"If you are still figuring out what your passions are, do not lose heart but open your eyes & ears to new areas and feel for where your heart is tugged toward. Once you have discovered what drives you, connect with people who are in the space you desire to occupy & maintain your relationships with those who encourage and inspire you to continue, & don’t stop. Even once you have reached your “destination,” or your “throne,” be a servant leader in the way you make every effort to help others..."
"I was challenged when I had to learn a few new technologies and languages prior to my software engineering internship last summer. One of my favorite ways to learn is by following YouTube tutorials; it’s amazing how many resources YouTube has for developers. For me, watching is easier than reading."
"I always found navigating large codebases pretty challenging, especially when they weren’t entirely created me and by working with them more, I’ve overcome my fear and lack of confidence that I used to have about them."
"My biggest challenge at the moment is to find a good three-way balance among family, school and clinical expectations. Many people have asked how I could manage graduate school while being a mother of two preschoolers. Advance planning and good time-management is key. I push all deadlines up by at least two weeks because unexpected circumstances, such as kids getting sick, almost always happen when the deadline is approaching. Also, self-determination and self-discipline play a big role..."
"Take classes that you think will never be relevant. I took a chocolate class in college and it’s now one of my favorite things to explore in terms of history, manufacturing, economic impact, and tastings (of course)."
"I have an intensely deep fascination of how I come to define the words “reality”, “existence” and “truth”. In pursuit of defining these words, I study the subjects that attempt to describe reality — physics, mathematics, philosophy and religion. I study computer-related fields as well because technology has transformed virtually every industry. In other words, having the skill of working with technology gives me a reach that stretches over almost every discipline."
"Always stay open minded. When I entered college, I knew nothing of computer science. However, I spontaneously took an intro class freshman year and fell in love with the subject almost immediately. Something I thought was so intimidating before came together in my head like clockwork and I knew this was something that was meant for me. If I haven’t taken that class, I never would have found out how fascinating computer science really is or discovered my true passion. You will never know..."
"I would say the toughest time I’ve had thus far was during the beginnings of my internship at IBM. After going through my initial period of being overwhelmed/wanting to scream, I realized it was all about using my resources. Sometimes, the people on my team were unfamiliar with the issues I might be having. I realized there is a wealth of information there to work with, it was just a matter of me reading through it all, and finding the right people to speak with."
"In order to REIGN their lives, women must take risks & be open to being out of their comfort zones. I attended three hackathons before I really felt comfortable at them. I went to Y-Hack before I was ready. I was the designer of the team, but I asked back-end questions, & looked at back-end code. I wasn’t afraid to talk to engineers at the Palo Alto Caltrain station when our train was delayed for over an hour."
"I have worked in IT for approx. 30 yrs. I started out as a Medical Technologist, but always knew I wanted to study Computer Science. When I told my high school guidance counselor I wanted to study Computer Science, she said:”‘Oh no, you don’t want to do that.” So I didn’t. After working in a hospital lab, when computers really started taking off, I knew I had to pursue my dream so I went back to school and got my B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Finance."
"Something I would like to tell other women is to never give up. I know it seems simple, but it’s so true. I have had people actually tell me that “men are usually better at math than girls” and imply that the only reason I got my research position with my professor was because I was pretty. Most women will experience this, but they can’t let that stop them. It’s so important to know that you can do anything if you put your mind to it! Everybody is born with the same capacity to learn..."
"Don’t compare yourself to others. When someone around you is speaking about something that you haven’t heard yet, don’t get down on yourself. Think of it like this, it’s not that they are smarter than you they have simply just read a bit more about a certain subject. Keep your head up, because it’s as simple as that, really. This realization saved me while I was learning to program and I still remind myself of it when I feel imposter syndrome sneak in."
"I love technology and engineering, and love inspiring others especially women to join computer science. I have participated in much outreach for STEM and especially Computer Science especially for minorities, and love talking about why this is the one of the best careers ever. I strongly believe technology is the best way to create impact in this world, and want to use technology to help better people’s lives. I think as engineers & technologists, we have an incredible amount of opportunity..."
"There’s not a lot of stress, there’s a lot of intensity.
That’s what my dad always tells me."
"I was born and raised in Tanzania, I then came to South Africa for university. Until college my favorite subject was Physics, I was even aspiring to be a physics researcher. I got the Computer Science bug in college and it hasn’t left me since. I like that it combines both my passion for writing and math and logic skills."
"The one person who has influenced not only my career path, but also most of my life choices, is my mother. When I was young, she told me a story about a defining experience she had in college. She was studying nursing at the time, and a male friend of hers told her that she would never be smart enough to study Chemical Engineering, so she switched her major to Chem. E. and graduated right along with him! I think she has definitely instilled that same attitude in me..."
"I think Imposter Syndrome can cause us all to question ourselves at one point or another (whether personally or professionally), so for me, maintaining a balance of stretching myself (by trying new things), while also staying involved in activities/interests where I’m an “expert” or make me feel confident has been really important and helpful."
"*Actively* seek out people who inspire you — when you attend talks, ask questions. When you are interested in an instructor’s work, ask if they have research/collaboration opportunities. Go to office hours and share your thoughts. Essentially, no matter what stage you’re at, take the initiative to get your hands on cool work so that you can thrive."
"My favorite website is Khan Academy because there are numerous times where I do not understand my notes and need additional material. Khan Academy has a wide range of material and is accessible to a large population around the world. I believe that education should be made available to everyone regardless of location and money and Khan Academy is leading the way in accomplishing just that."
These articles were prepared by each individual featured in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of any specific organization.