Andi Vivas-Thomas double-majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering at New York University and is currently a Software Engineer at Lenovo, where she develops tools for Windows operating systems that run on Lenovo servers in Seattle, Washington. She works as a full-time engineer to sustain her love for road trips and attempts to run as many routes and trails as the Greater Seattle Area has to offer. Last but not least, she is a very strong advocate for empowering Females and Hispanics to dive into the world of STEM.
WHY ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH IGNITE?
Since I can remember, I was always building Legos, playing videogames, and breaking apart computer electronics. I did this long before I knew what STEM was and before I learned about the gender disparity in technology. I want every girl to experience technology as a fun, gender-less, age-less opportunity to be yourself like I did. I believe IGNITE is at the forefront of tackling the tech gender gap from the roots and anyone that wants to make the world a better place should lend a hand!
HOW HAS IGNITE INSPIRED YOU?
Up until I joined the workforce, I believed the challenge in STEM was getting through engineering school in college. It turns out that this is just a sprint within a very long marathon. At my first full-time job, I started working in a team of engineers that had been in the field for more than 30 years and there was only one other female on my team. The infamous impostor syndrome was unbelievably hard to shake off, even for a confident geek that has been in love with STEM since birth. In a beautiful way, IGNITE is inspiring young girls, but also adult females, like myself, to strive and persist in technology and engineering.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE WIDER COMMUNITY TO KNOW ABOUT IGNITE?
I want everyone to know how easy it can be to make an impact and change a girl’s life: talk about IGNITE, share the IGNITE events with your friends and family, attend an IGNITE panel, volunteer in our fundraising efforts, fund an IGNITE school, donate to the organization; if you want to help, the smallest action will at the very least yield inspired girls all over the world. And let’s not forget IGNITE might change your own life, too!