As an 8 year old I had my world turned upside down. I said goodbye to my friends, my family, and my way of life. My parents had decided to move to the United States of America. When I arrived the food, the language, and even the smells were foreign to me. I had to learn to be independent in this new world. My parents worked before the sun rose each day until after it set each night to ensure that I had the material things I needed to be successful in school. I carried a great burden. I couldn’t allow their sacrifice to go to waste. My responsibility was to be exceptional in school.
In my teenage years I had to face another challenge, my parents decided to part ways. My mom packed our things, and brought my sister and I to Seattle. My amazing single mom worked 3 jobs to continue to provide me with the opportunity to be successful. Having a single mom now meant to me more pressure of making sure I was an exceptional student by having good grades, and participating in extracurricular activities. I knew I wanted to go to college, but I had no idea what that meant, what I would need, or what I would study there. I just knew that I needed to ensure that every opportunity I could give myself I did so because my single mom would not be able to provide anymore than she was already trying her hardest to do.
In my freshman year in high school I met the most wonderful teacher I will never forget, Ms. Barbara Cummins. I am not sure what she saw in me, but she sparked a desire in me to learn more about technology. I began to take classes in technology that not only taught me about computer software, but networking, and hardware. She constantly encouraged me to push myself even when things at home weren’t going right, or when I didn’t have things at home to support me in this type of education (like a computer). Whenever I felt I was beyond my capabilities of keeping up with my classmates who had more resources available to them, she would give me pep talks to keep me going. It was not late thereafter that we learned about I.G.N.I.T.E.
I.G.N.I.T.E to me felt like a bunch of women kneeling beside me helping me carry this heavy burden of empowering myself to be more than I could imagine to be. Through IGNITE’s shadowing events, trips to technology organizations and motivating speeches I was able to help carve a professional career path for myself where I could be successful and happy.
For over a decade now I have worked in the technology industry innovating experiences for people around the world. As a Sr. UX Researcher, I have worked with corporations like Microsoft, Phillips, and Boeing designing and building the next wave of digital solutions. I am currently working for Providence St. Joseph to bring better healthcare experiences to patients, physicians, and clinicians.