Early Career

Sneha Jayaprakash is kickstarting her career

Sneha joins our ranks as another socially-minded budding entrepreneur; she likes thrift clothes, is already tri-lingual, and her startup just kick-started $13,000. Pretty freaking cool, right? Read on for her story.

Tell us a little about you.

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I am a newly minted graduate from UC San Diego, and I’ll be working at Microsoft full-time as a Program Manager starting in January. I’ve always been interested in the STEM fields, but becoming a software engineer was a complete accident. I actually applied for a Bioengineering major, and later realized that I had to take computer science classes for my Bioinformatics specialization. After one Intro to Java class, I was hooked, and immediately switched into the Computer Science department.

My favorite aspect of software development is understanding how that technology will be used to impact someone’s life, though I love algorithms and back-end development. I spend my free time learning new languages, both programming and linguistic! I am trilingual (English, French, and Tamil), and I am hoping to master Spanish by the end of this year.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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I try to live sustainably, so most of my clothes come from a women’s clothing exchange group at UC San Diego, thrift stores, or small local vendors at street fairs. Reduce, reuse, recycle! I’m also really sentimental about clothing and jewelry that other people give me, so I tend to wear gifts more often than the clothes I buy for myself.

The red shirt was a gift from my grandfather, who passed away last year, the flats are from my aunt and uncle, the tan top is from my mom, and the octopus necklace is from my former college roommate.

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

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Just go for it! Don’t overthink it and let yourself feel overwhelmed by the challenge. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and if STEM is what you’re passionate about, the best way to get involved is to immerse yourself in the field.

Start applying for internships even if you feel you aren’t ready, because real-world applications are the best way to learn. Join recreational STEM clubs, set up lunches with professors and mentors to learn more about their journeys, and experiment with new technologies on your own.

We live in the golden age of the Internet, and there are so many free resources available to you. Don’t let self-doubt or the impostor syndrome keep you from pursuing your interests – while that’s easier said than done, take it one day at a time, and set small goals for yourself day by day to learn a new skill or make a new connection.

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

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Outside of work and school, I run a social good company called Giventure, with the goal of enabling anyone to volunteer anywhere, anytime. Our mobile and web platforms are your personal assistant for volunteering, helping you find community service opportunities with nonprofit organizations supporting your favorite causes.

Running Giventure has introduced me to some truly incredible opportunities; I was recently a panelist at San Diego Startup Week, and last summer, I was invited to be a speaker at the Special Olympics Youth Summit. We also completed a successful Kickstarter campaign just last month and raised over $13,000. The platform will be publicly launched by the end of the year, so if you’re interested, follow us at fb.com/giventure and sign up to join the community at www.giventure.org.

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

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I post pictures of all of the octopuses I run across on my Instagram as @simplysneha, and I’m on Twitter as @thisissnehaaa.

Y’all definitely need to check out Sneha’s octopus photos, and the giventure site – their homepage is as cool as the concept (which is saying a lot!)

All the best,

Dona & Beth

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