Monthly Archives

March 2016

Students

Flor Albornoz

Dona and Beth are at //Build this week teaching creatives about holograms with the Holographic Academy. While downing copious amounts of coffee, they were reminded of fellow coffee addict Flor Albornoz who they met this summer. They loved Flor’s dedication to tech as well as dressing for her name. What? Read on!

Tell us a little about you.

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I moved to the US about 5 years ago from Lima, Peru (born and raised there) and I’m studying Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.

I am involved on campus in multiple ways – such as being the President of the IEEE Student Branch, Microsoft Ambassador and a tutor for the Minority Engineering Program. It’s important for me to be able to guide future engineering students, and help kindle their passion about STEM, and I am able to do that by being involved in these organizations.

Outside of school work and large amounts of caffeine doses, I rock climb and work out as a form of stress reliever. Lately, I have also been very into origami; I have mastered the “valley fold” just enough to be able to make an origami rocket and 3D animals.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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I’m wearing a butterfly/flower dress that I paired with black (golden heel) shoes. I purchased the dress recently and I am in love with how classy and fun it looks!  The shoes are from H&M, and they’re my favorite pair of heels by far; I love the detail in the heel and how it can match with any type of outfit – I’ve worn them to both formal and causal occasions. A pair of black heels truly is a woman’s best friend!

In Spanish, my name means flower so I always try my best to pair my clothes with bright flowery themes. There is no season that will stop me from wearing bright flower colors in a daily basis. It’s my way to try to balance out the weather and make each day a little happier.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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My style has DEFINITELY evolved the most in college. I used to wear long baggy shirts, sneakers and jeans –I was trying too hard to fit in as an engineering student. In a way, I had lost my personality and I wasn’t being true to myself. My outfits made me feel uncomfortable and it was when I joined a sorority full of other women engineers that I decided to embrace my feminine side. I began to experience with patterns and colored jeans. Soon enough, colored jeans became part of my signature style! Most of my colored pants range from pink to bright yellow.

After finding my clothing style, I started experimenting with makeup – which I was extremely bad at to start with. I usually go for a natural makeup; mascara, filled eyebrows and lip gloss are my to go for any occasion.

Recently, I have been experimenting wearing skirts with ankle booties. At first, I was extremely self conscious about it -what will the world think about my feminine features? OH, the horror!- but then I started owning my style. I realized that I don’t need to ask people permission for the way I dress (of course, as long as it is professional) but more than anything, the way I dress as a woman doesn’t affect my performance on a day to day life.

When I chatted with Dona about this topic, she made a good point that if I fake trying to fit in by being something I am not, then I am not bringing 100% of myself to the task I have been given whether that’s school or a job. Those words have made a lot of difference on how I see myself.

I love dressing up because it gives me a confidence boost. I live by the motto, “When you look good, you feel good and you do good.”

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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Do it! I chose STEM because I wanted to facilitate the day to day lives of people. My major gives me the opportunity to make this possible by allowing me to see all the fields (medicine, consumer products, power and much more) where engineers are valued. A lot of people might not see it this way but engineers have a much closer connection for the betterment of humanity. Engineers put together tools that allow people to remain connected and explode their full potential.

Second, you can do ANYTHING. Really, you can do/be anything you want, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There’s this stigma that women in STEM break easily or aren’t able to “handle the work”. Please, do not listen to those possible. The only person who knows how far you can go in your career is yourself: you are the ones who set the goals and makes the plan to get there.

You will be surprised with how far you can go in this field by proving people wrong. I’ve been in positions where I have been told that I am not good enough for my major and maybe I should study something else; I never gave up on my goals. There are times where you have to be the one patting yourself on the back for the amazing work you do – Be confident.

Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?

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As we keep changing into different phases in life, it’s easy to put our well-being at the bottom of our to-do list. It’s easy to forget who we are because we try to hard to fit in with the rest. Don’t be afraid to show the world and yourself who you are. Don’t forget that you possess qualities that no other can provide and you also see the world in a different perspective that no one else will. Be bold. Say what you want to say. Do it with passion. Dream wide awake. You are a unique person who has tons to offer so don’t let anyone dull your spark. When times get tough, remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

IMG_0574You can find Flor on facebook.

We had such a lovely time shooting Flor – the evening summer lighting was perfect, her dress was so colorful and her shoes oh my gosh! We can’t say enough of a resounding ‘yes!’ about her attitude towards engineering’s relationship with humanity. We love that Flor is definitely not impostering and instead, relishing being her lovely, talented self. We can’t wait to see what she does next!

xoxo,

Beth and Dona

Students

Global Lisa Talks About the Most Creative Industry of All

Our 4th Edinburgh profile is Lisa Xie. Definitely the bubbliest of the bunch, Lisa was entirely in charge of showing Beth around the city while she was there last November – including gems like a Frankenstein-themed restaurant! We were fascinated by Lisa’s global background that spans Germany, Taiwan, Canada and the U.K and to hear about what brought her into computer science in the first place–creativity! 

Tell us a little about you.

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Heya, I’m Lisa. I’m studying Computer Science with a minor in Management Science at the University of Edinburgh in my second year. I grew up in Germany, but attended High School in Canada and Taiwan. I dropped out of my first degree of International Studies in the Netherlands after two months, as I couldn’t find any enjoyment at all in the courses I took and then found my calling when starting my degree in Computer Science.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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The first outfit is a combination of different red and pink tones. The pink hoodie is from Only, a white loose mandarin-style shirt from Forever 21 underneath and a color-blocked pink and purple scarf from my mother’s shop. The skirt is a floral print from H&M. My shoes are oxford style heels from a thrift shop.

For my second outfit I got the turtleneck knit dress from Zara. For one of the pictures I stole Harry’s overcoat.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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You don’t have to be a prodigy in Math to be able to make it in a STEM degree. You will be fine even if you haven’t started coding when you’re 12. You will be fine even if you haven’t taken a radio apart out and managed to put it back together when you’re just a child.

If you’re interested in science and want to learn about the world around you STEM is for you. It’s a very creative field – Computer Science especially – even though it’s really not known for this.

(Can we just make this paragraph into a poster and put it up in every HS in the world? KThx)

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

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I am teaching an evening course for girls who are students at my university but don’t study Computer Science. It’s the most rewarding time of my week when I get to see how excited the girls get about simple things like getting a website to display their names.

We’re on the second session of the course now and we had a lot of girls continue on from the first one we taught about WebDev to Python. A lot of them even brought friends to the new session which was really humbling to me.

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

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After being in a Humanities degree (for a short time I admit) and then changing to Computer Science I found that one has much more creative freedom in CS. Knowing how to program is really enabling in our digital world. It allows you to reach people and promote causes you’re passionate about.

Quite a few people I’ve met in my degree are proper nerds and love technology – however they’re always happy to explain and they’ve never made me feel stupid because I didn’t know as much as them about a topic. However, most have hobbies that lie outside technology so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find someone who shares your interest. Not all of us are complete technology geeks.

Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?

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I thought dropping out of a degree might be one of the worst decisions in my life. However, it turned out be the best thing that could happen to me. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing now you probably won’t 10 years down the line.

I choose International Studies because I wasn’t sure what to do and it was a popular choice among my peers so I assumed it would be safest to go with the flow. Pretty early into my studies, I realized there were few people I could help if I stayed on this degree even in the long run. Technology however is becoming more and more important every day – there are great charity projects out there which use technology to try to raise people out of poverty by giving them access to the internet and tech skills.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

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You will find my Facebook profile here – feel free to shoot me a message! My Snapchat handle is ‘rawkward’ I try to add interesting stories on there!

Taiwan, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and now Edinburgh – what a crazy traveller! We think dropping out of a degree takes a lot of courage, and it’s awesome to see where it’s taken Lisa (in life, not just geographically :P). We can’t thank Lisa enough for taking the time to talk to us about creativity in STEM. That is the kind of diversity we need to ensure that the next generation of products we are building are truly inclusive and global, just like the lovely people we feature here on Fibonacci Sequins. 

Love,

Dona & Beth

 

Students

Aila Enos: Frankly, my dear, she *does* give a damn!

In honor of SXSW going on this week down in Austin, we decided to showcase one of our favorite Longhorns. We had the pleasure of meeting Aila Enos last summer when she was an intern at Microsoft. We were immediately struck by her resemblance to Vivien Leigh  who played one of Dona’s all time favorite heroines and had to do a dreamy, nostalgic photoshoot to capture the relationship.  As we got to know this lovely young woman, we realized that she is not to be messed with! Read on to find out why….

Tell us a little about you.

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I’m a graduating senior at the University of Texas at Austin. This past summer I was at Microsoft as a Software Development Intern on the Universal Store team. Before that, I was a Test Engineering Intern at Spiceworks, a company in Austin. I will be returning in the fall full-time at Microsoft as a developer. At UT, I give tours to prospective computer science students as a CS Ambassador and teach a group of around 20 CS freshmen as a POD mentor. Through the POD mentor program I am able to teach them about resumes, interviews, the lab machines, and other information they would need to know but not get from classes. I also had the opportunity to TA for our introduction to programming class in the fall, which was a fun experience. Finally, I am the corporate officer for UT’s ACM chapter.

Some fun facts about me: I was born in Hawaii, I know how to make sushi, and I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do (see? told you, don’t mess with Texas).

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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I always feel most confident when I’m dressed up, and I strongly believe you should wear whatever you feel the best in! My style is very classic, and I tend to end up cycling through a few favorite pieces. Today, I am wearing a tan and black Ann Taylor dress and Christian Siriano for Payless heels. As for accessories, I love my Dynasty Red Kate Spade bag. It always adds a pop of color to my outfits! 

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

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When I was growing up, I was enchanted by anything Chanel. I loved the flowy dresses and simple yet chic color schemes. The whole brand felt very classic and polished. In high school I liked Betsey Johnson a lot. The floral patterns and feminine details like bows and sequins were just my style. Today, I like Kate Spade for the same reasons I liked Chanel when I was younger. Her designs are polished, classic, and chic, but never boring. There is always a fun pop of color or a cute and whimsical message.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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Give it a shot. You never know it’s for you until you try it. Plus, there’s a fantastic support system for you if you decide to go this route.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

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Before this past summer, I would say surviving my operating systems class (us too, Aila, us too!).  Now, I would say my intern project from this past summer; The goal was to improve the performance of a service, which included redesigning the service by changing it to a publish and subscribe model.

Every time I decided on a new model and started prototyping, there would be a change and I would have to talk to the other teams and adjust the plan. As a developer I was worried I was doing too much project management work and wouldn’t have much actual code to turn in (which made me worry that I wouldn’t get a return offer). In the end, everything turned out okay – I learned to appreciate my project and the skills I learned, and my team trusted me to make design decisions and to interact with other teams myself.

I realized the things I did — communicating with other teams, reading and writing technical specs, making important technical decisions based on efficiency, complexity of code, and performance — were all very important. I would argue now that soft skills are just important as the more technical skills.

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

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There is a lot of talk about how girls in STEM receive unwanted attention and have negative experiences in the field. While this does happen, it is definitely not the norm! I have only had one negative experience (a guy kept interrupting me), and he was most likely an outlier.

While it definitely depends on your environment and where you go to school or work, there are guys out there that support women in computer science and treat us like regular, competent, human beings! Don’t let a few bad apples bring you down or make you think that it is the norm.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

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I’m not super active on social media (didn’t like Twitter, stopped using Instagram), but you can always send me an email at ailaenos@gmail.com!

Whoa. Aila is one busy lady between teaching programming classes, mentoring students and being a full-time student! We share her love of fashion (Chanel and Christian Siriano FTW forever!) and we’re insanely excited to have her back at Microsoft this fall to watch how she absolutely dominates her new job the way she’s dominated university. 

Till next time

Love,

Dona & Beth