Women's Journey in Tech

by Alyssa Lin

I am a junior at Bellevue High School in Washington state. I’m hosting a podcast highlighting Asian American women in the STEM field. I want to share their stories and empower girls interested in pursuing their passions in technology.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 1

  • How to Find your Passion in STEM

    How to Find your Passion in STEM

    My guest today is Shinta Smith. Shinta is currently a Senior Software Engineer at an online travel shopping company. She originally was enrolled as a business major at Oklahoma State University. However, in her second semester as a Freshman, she took a Management Information Science Class. It was designed to be the computing class for business majors, and she really liked it. She expressed her interest in pursuing more of the topics in the management class to her brother, who encouraged her to explore her interests. He recommended Shinta to apply to The University of Texas at Austin because it has a good computing science program, and Shinta decided to transfer. Shinta’s first job took place at Cooperative Computing Inc as a Software Development Engineer. She wanted the job because she felt that the people there were welcoming of someone with no college experience. She felt comfortable learning and gaining experience from the more senior members of her team. Shinta values inclusivity and feels that it helps people stay passionate and have the ability to learn and explore. In her first job, there was a welcoming attitude that allowed an openness to help each other, which is something that Shinta carried throughout her career. Engineers in Shinta’s current team are all female engineers that Shinta mentors. Her approach as a technical lead is to start from the ground up and show other team members how to fix the issues that arise with her engineers. Shinta does not view leadership as a goal in her career but rather as a means to help her solve problems that her team has. She encourages those interested in any STEM field to find something they are passionate about, even if it takes a little longer, and find a workplace or a college that will allow them space to cultivate that passion and align with their values. If they are just starting to explore the tech field, she advises them to find their passion and use it to drive their exploration into the tech field.

  • How to Gain Self-Confidence in a Leadership Style

    How to Gain Self-Confidence in a Leadership Style

    My guest today is Shreya Mishra. Shreya currently works at AWS in Amazon. She has a background in Computer Science. She chose to major in CS because she was curious about technology. At school, in one of her classes, she was asked to write a basic program and it was where she developed interest in coding. Her first job was in India, and she had to go through an intense training program to prepare for her first job. Shreya credits this training period for the basis of a lot of skills such as learning to code in new languages. She also wanted to enter management to see where and how decisions were made. Shreya immigrated to the US to grow her career and had to quickly learn the way things are done in the US. Her mentors supported her with the culture transition. Another challenge she faced was the fear of not knowing how to do things. To overcome this challenge, she had to change her mindset and know that she would learn things as she goes and improve. Now, when Shreya enters an unfamiliar situation, she goes in with the confidence that she will learn and then figure out anything that she doesn’t know. One of the most important things for Shreya in leadership is to be able to collaborate with everyone. She also prioritizes the trust of the team as a key factor of success. Shreya values leaders who have backbones and will give reasons and rationale for decisions that were made and that might be polarizing. She also values constructive criticism given in a way that does not outline someone’s weakness and instead focuses on what that person who is receiving criticism can do to overcome that weakness. She advises anyone giving feedback to not focus on the problem but focus on the solution and go back from there. The main reason she wants to become a leader is to motivate others when they see her. She wants to be a role model for those who look up to her on how to overcome difficulties and still pursue what they want. She wants girls and the parents of those girls see women like her in leadership and in technology so they can see that there are opportunities for their children so the children can progress. One of Shreya’s most memorable experiences is when she had to present at Amazon’s Reinvent. Shreya only worked for one year at Amazon at this point. Her teammate could not meet in person and she had to present alone in person. This event built up Shreya’s confidence in her abilities. She believes confidence in people’s abilities comes from giving their best shot and not being afraid to fail because they at least know what not to do the next time they try again. Confidence does not come overnight and it comes from learning and watching others. One piece of advice Shreya would give others is to never let anybody make you believe that you are not good for something and to be open to learning, ask them why. For women trying to enter leadership, don’t let other people’s biases affect you and don’t let others dictate how good or bad you think you are.

  • How to Succeed in Electrical Engineering at College

    How to Succeed in Electrical Engineering at College

    It took Min dropping out of a core class to really learn electrical engineering. Now she’s a successful test engineer who works with Fortune 500 companies. I've known Min since I was 7, and she’s always excited to share her knowledge. We discuss her experience in college, her reasons for pursuing electrical engineering and computer science, and a transformative opportunity that shaped her journey throughout the rest of her career.

  • A Journey to Technical Management

    A Journey to Technical Management

    I interviewed Jin Zhang who works at Meta, a company whose apps have 2.91 billion users worldwide. Her current job is centered around a new field in tech. She focuses on management right now, but she also understands the technical side to her field too. Her attitude and her work ethic helped her rise up the corporate ladder. Her willingness to learn also helped her succeed. She believes that her education(she has a business major) set her up to succeed at her first job. She said that if you have interest in an industry, you should look deeper into specific jobs that you might connect with. Jin says that the most helpful things when you are trying to become a leader is to build trust with those around you, actively listen to others, and remain confident in your abilities.