Google Doodle Celebrates Mary G. Ross. Here’s What to Know About the First Native American Woman Engineer

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Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 110th birthday of Mary G. Ross, the first Native American woman engineer. Over the course of her five-decade career, Ross achieved many firsts and made major contributions to the aerospace industry.

Here’s what to know about the trailblazer, born on Aug. 9, 1908, who opened the doors for future female engineers in the field.

Who Was Mary G. Ross?

Great-great granddaughter to Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation, Mary G. Ross was born in the small town of Park Hill in Oklahoma. Raised with the Cherokee value of learning, Ross pursued a path considered nontraditional for women. After receiving a degree in math from Northeastern State College, Ross taught math and science until she returned to school to earn her master’s in math from Colorado State College of Education.

What were her contributions to aerospace?

In 1942, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company hired Ross as mathematician. But after a manager recognized her talent, Ross was sent to UCLA to earn a classification in aeronautical engineering. Lockheed then rehired her as their first female engineer. Ross would go on to work on major projects such as the Agena rocket, which was a crucial step in the Apollo program to land on the moon. She also was a part of SkunkWorks, a top-secret 40-member think tank where she was the only women aside from the secretary. Ross’ work there involved developing initial design concepts for interplanetary space travel, including flyby missions to Venus and Mars.
“Often at night there were four of us working until 11 p.m.,” she once said according to Google. “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer. We were taking the theoretical and making it real.”

How did she open the door for women?

Ross also devoted herself to encouraging women and Native Americans into careers in the field of STEM. She was a fellow of the Society of Women Engineers, where she established a scholarship in her name to support future female engineers and technologists. To support fellow Native Americans, Ross also worked closely with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Council of Energy Resource Tribes to develop their educational programs.

Continue onto TIME to read the complete article.

Ada Lovelace: The First Computer Programmer

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A century before the dawn of the computer age, Ada Lovelace imagined the modern-day, general-purpose computer. It could be programmed to follow instructions, she wrote in 1843.It could not just calculate but also create, as it “weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”

The computer she was writing about, the British inventor Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, was never built. But her writings about computing have earned Lovelace — who died of uterine cancer in 1852 at 36 — recognition as the first computer programmer.

The program she wrote for the Analytical Engine was to calculate the seventh Bernoulli number. (Bernoulli numbers, named after the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, are used in many different areas of mathematics.) But her deeper influence was to see the potential of computing. The machines could go beyond calculating numbers, she said, to understand symbols and be used to create music or art.

“This insight would become the core concept of the digital age,” Walter Isaacson wrote in his book “The Innovators.” “Any piece of content, data or information — music, text, pictures, numbers, symbols, sounds, video — could be expressed in digital form and manipulated by machines.”

She also explored the ramifications of what a computer could do, writing about the responsibility placed on the person programming the machine, and raising and then dismissing the notion that computers could someday think and create on their own — what we now call artificial intelligence.

“The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate any thing,” she wrote. “It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.”

Lovelace, a British socialite who was the daughter of Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, had a gift for combining art and science, one of her biographers, Betty Alexandra Toole, has written. She thought of math and logic as creative and imaginative, and called it “poetical science.”

Math “constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world,” Lovelace wrote.

Her work, which was rediscovered in the mid-20th century, inspired the Defense Department to name a programming language after her and each October Ada Lovelace Day signifies a celebration of women in technology.

Lovelace lived when women were not considered to be prominent scientific thinkers, and her skills were often described as masculine.

“With an understanding thoroughly masculine in solidity, grasp and firmness, Lady Lovelace had all the delicacies of the most refined female character,” said an obituary in The London Examiner.

Babbage, who called her the “enchantress of numbers,” once wrote that she “has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects (in our own country at least) could have exerted over it.”

Augusta Ada Byron was born on Dec. 10, 1815, in London, to Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke. Her parents separated when she was an infant, and her father died when she was 8. Her mother — whom Lord Byron called the “princess of parallelograms” and, after their falling out, a “mathematical Medea” — was a social reformer from a wealthy family who had a deep interest in mathematics.

Lovelace showed a passion for math and mechanics from a young age, encouraged by her mother. Because of her class, she had access to private tutors and to intellectuals in British scientific and literary society. She was insatiably curious and surrounded herself with big thinkers of the day, including Mary Somerville, a scientist and writer.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

MTV to Chronicle Disability Activist’s Quest to Travel Into Space

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Eddie Ndopu

Eddie Ndopu wants to become the first physically disabled person to travel to space. MTV will follow a South African activist on his quest to become the first physically disabled person to travel to space.

Eddie Ndopu, 27, was born with spinal muscular atrophy and given a life span of five years. He has obviously exceeded that, going on to earn a master’s degree in public policy from Oxford and has spent more than a decade advocating for the rights of disabled young people.

Now Ndopu is hoping to travel to space and deliver a message from above Earth to the U.N. General Assembly, sending “a powerful message on behalf of young people everywhere who have ever felt excluded by society.” MTV cameras will follow him as he enlists an aerospace company to facilitate the mission and chronicle his thoughts and emotions as the launch approaches. The cabler will also document his voyage and message to the United Nations.

The project was announced ahead of the International Day of Persons With Disabilities on Dec. 3.

Continue on to The Hollywood Reporter to read the complete article.

How This Former MIT Professor And Google Engineer Used Holograms To Build A $28 Million Startup

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A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater.

Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh. This simple demonstration shows the science behind what Openwater is trying to achieve; wearable diagnostics made from consumer electronic parts that offer higher resolution than multimillion-dollar MRI machines but cost as much as a smartphone.

Just as the chicken’s tumor blocked the laser pointer light, which shone through the rest of the chicken’s flesh, Openwater’s wearables will capture images by recording light particles and the negative spaces where they fail to scatter. X-rays use radiation and MRI machines use a magnetic field and radio waves because they can go through the human body and produce an image. But so does “red light, infrared light,” Jepsen tells Forbes. “Guess which one is cheaper by a lot?”

It’s a method similar to how holograms are made, and it uses readily available camera and display chips you can find in a smartphone. It’s also an idea that took Jepsen’s skill set to consider, and perhaps her impressive CV to convince investors to buy in. The serial founder led the display divisions at Intel and the semi-secret research group Google X and helped develop Oculus after Facebook purchased the virtual reality headset company in 2014. But Openwater began with Princess Leia’s projected message to Obi Wan Kenobi, when Jepsen aimed her life at building holograms like the one she first saw in Star Wars.

Hooked by the lasers and optical illusions involved, Jepsen made her first hologram as an engineering undergrad at Brown. Later, she’d use her growing skill set to develop computer display screens and VR glasses at the top tech companies in the world.

At that time, however, holograms did not pay the bills. Because holography was viewed as a frivolous “technology looking for an application,” no one would fund it, Jepsen says. “I just had to figure out a way to support my habit. I basically lived all through my 20s on $12,000 a year just because I thought I’d die if I couldn’t make holograms,” Jepsen said.

Her pursuit of holograms bought her to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a professor of computer science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and helped put holograms on the country’s paper money. In Cologne, Germany, she built some of the world’s largest holographic displays, including one of historic buildings projected on an entire city block. Still, she didn’t feel her work was taken seriously, so Jepsen figured she’d need a Ph.D.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Learning, Empathy And Diversity Have Put Microsoft On A Path Of Unstoppable Growth

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The news that Microsoft is “worth as much as Apple” is further proof that its efforts to re-invent itself are paying off. For those who view the resurgence of the Redmond giant as being mostly driven by a winning strategy, a word of caution is in order. Could the Microsoft we know today successfully pursue the same objectives (e.g., cloud computing, opening up to other platforms, zeroing in on forward-thinking acquisitions such as the latest partnership with MasterCard, etc.) as the accomplished, perfectionistic and somewhat aged tech colossus it used to be? Probably not.

Notwithstanding the importance of the strategic reboot Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has implemented, it is Nadella’s focus on the organization’s culture that has paved the way to such robust results. On the one hand, the stock market is responding to Microsoft’s short-term performance, but, on the other, as research suggests, it is acknowledging Microsoft’s ability to evolve and put itself on a path that may ensure growth for years to come.

Deeper Growth Leads To Real Business Growth

If we analyze the impact culture change is having on the company’s own performance, two aspects of Microsoft’s reboot tell the story. First, the fact that Microsoft has focused on capacities that are highly instrumental to its new strategy shows it is not simply building a nice culture, but one geared towards business growth. By placing emphasis on learning and empathy as critical assets, for example, Microsoft has already demonstrated a deeper understanding of what developing a large ecosystem of partnerships truly entails.

Second, the fact that these new culture assets provide Microsoft with a source of ‘renewable energy’ underscores a level of adaptability and strategic alertness that may serve the organization’s growth over the long-term. If Microsoft is learning to learn, in other words, the value of this mindset has no expiration date.

But why are these new capacities so uniquely important?

When at his first public appearance as CEO, Satya Nadella used T.S. Eliot’s famous words—“You should never cease from exploration, and at the end of all exploration, you arrive where you started and know the place for the very first time”—to describe his vision, he made it clear that the Redmond giant needs to overcome itself to find itself. For all it had accomplished, Microsoft possibly hadn’t begun to know even half of its own potential. This is why venturing into new territories, leaving the comfort zone and embracing opportunities beyond what looked immediately familiar was the only way to succeed.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Tuesday’s Google Doodle Honors Pediatrician Fe del Mundo

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Tuesday’s Google Doodle celebrates the 107th birthday of renowned pediatrician Fe del Mundo.

In Manila at the turn of the last century, women had relatively few opportunities, but lawyer Bernardo del Mundo was supportive when one of his young daughters declared, at an early age, that she wanted to become a doctor someday and care for the poorer population of Manila. When the ambitious young girl died of appendicitis at age 11, her younger sister Fe took up the torch.

Fe del Mundo graduated from the University of the Philippines Manila at the head of her class in 1933 and scored so highly on her medical board exam that Filipino President Manuel Quezon offered a full scholarship to any medical school in the United States to study any specialty she wanted. She chose Harvard and pediatrics, and having completed her enrollment, she arrived in 1936 to settle into her dorm room and begin studying.

But she found herself walking into a men’s dorm. Del Mundo hadn’t realized that in 1936, Harvard Medical School didn’t admit women. Harvard hadn’t realized that del Mundo was, in fact, a woman. In light of del Mundo’s impressive record — and, no doubt, her determined presence — the head of the pediatrics department made an exception and allowed her enrollment to stand. Harvard wouldn’t officially open up its medical program to female students until 1945.

By then, del Mundo was back in the Phillipines, having arrived in 1941 just ahead of the invading Japanese Army. As a Red Cross volunteer, she volunteered at an internment camp for the first two years of the war, then accepted a position as director of a city-run children’s hospital in 1943. In early 1945, the fighting had come to a head in Manila, where American and Filipino troops were fighting to push Japanese occupiers out of the capital city. Over 100,000 civilians died in the battle, and del Mundo’s pediatric hospital found itself pressed into more general service. After the war, much of Manila lay in ruins, but the North General Hospital (eventually renamed the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center) endured, and del Mundo served as its director until 1948.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Increasing Availability of Preventive Health Around the World

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Dr. Kevin Ashi

By Tony Allen

As an American child growing up in a rural Mexican town, Kevin Ashi’s experience with health care was simple: You only go to the doctor when you’re really sick.

So when he left his small community in central Mexico and moved with his parents to Las Vegas eight years ago, the aspiring physician was surprised to see how common it was for people to go to the doctor for yearly checkups and preventative care. He’d always been interested in medicine, but it was eye-opening for him to see the positive impact preventive care has on quality of life for so many Americans.

Inspired with a new perspective on medicine, Ashi decided then and there to forge a career path dedicated to helping underserved people and increasing the availability of preventive health around the world.

“I normalized disease growing up without ever considering prevention as a strategy to combat it,” said Ashi, a senior biology major and member of UNLV’s Honors College. “When I moved back to the U.S., I gained a whole new perspective on medicine. There’s a general belief in Mexico that you go to a doctor only when you’re very sick. Access to preventative care is so critically needed, but sadly missing, in so many places around the world.”

Ashi and his family saw opportunity in Las Vegas and moved to the valley in 2010. After graduating with honors from Las Vegas’ Palo Verde High School in 2014, Ashi brought his insatiable drive to make a difference to UNLV.

Informed by his experiences growing up in Mexico and after witnessing subpar healthcare while visiting family in Syria, Ashi is determined to complete his bachelor’s degree this fall and then go on to earn both an M.D. and master’s in public health to solve public health challenges in developing countries.

To do that, he knows he needs to make the most of every opportunity on campus. He joined the Honors College as a biology/pre-med major and has a minor in French – which included a semester studying abroad. He also participates in undergraduate research, tutors students in the Academic Success Center, has lobbied for STEM research funding in Washington, D.C., and two years ago he co-founded the university’s Latino Pre-Medical Student Association.

“It’s all about perspective,” Ashi says of his daunting workload. “If you were born and raised here, you may not realize that many opportunities exist. It’s important to make the most of them.”

Creating Opportunity
As a sophomore in 2016, Ashi and four of his peers – all aspiring physicians – noticed that something was missing on campus. UNLV was continuing its rise up the ranks of the nation’s most diverse colleges, and talks of a new medical school were heating up, but there wasn’t a dedicated student organization for Latino students interested in healthcare careers. So they started one.

Ashi is the type of person who grew up with a clear view of opportunities that many either take for granted or ignore. He was also well aware of the numbers: in Southern Nevada, nearly a third of the population is Latino, yet they make up only 3 percent of physicians.

“It’s a huge gap, and we need to do more to encourage young Latinos to pursue a career in the health fields,” says Ashi.

Just two years later, the UNLV Latino Pre-Medical Student Association is 45 members strong and growing. In addition to peer support and networking, a key focus for the group is hosting education and outreach events in local schools.

“The reason I’m in the Honors College is because I have an older sibling who helped guide me,” says Ashi. “Many young people don’t have a guide, and they may not think college is an option because they either can’t afford it or they don’t want to burden their families. We need to be a positive voice that they can do it, that if they believe in themselves they can make it happen.”

Ashi and his colleagues are also collaborating with the School of Medicine to develop the new school’s Latino Medical Student Association and to create mentorship opportunities for undergraduates with current medical students.

Rebels Take Chances
Eight years after coming to Las Vegas – and four years after starting his academic career at UNLV – Ashi’s personal experience with health care abroad fuels his aspiration to make a difference in public health just as strongly as the day he made up his mind. He’ll get first-hand experience summer when he participates in Harvard University’s Multidisciplinary International Research Training program in Peru.

He learned of the program around Thanksgiving and spent months secretly laboring over the application. He didn’t want to let his friends know he was applying in case he wasn’t selected, but he said he needed to give it a shot.

Ashi’s risk paid off—he spent most of June and July in Peru’s capital city of Lima researching emerging public health issues with the Harvard School of Public Health.

“You need to be mentally and emotionally strong to succeed in this line of work, and mentorship through this program will be so important as I begin my career in public health,” Ashi said.

Ashi is back at UNLV this fall for his final semester. Then it’s off to medical school, some additional study abroad, and, eventually, maybe, the World Health Organization.

His advice for fellow students?

“Don’t be afraid to take chances.”

Source: unlv.edu
Photo Credit: Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services

Meet Virginia’s First African-American Nanoscientist

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By Tiffany Woodall

This past May, Ginai Seabron became the first African-American woman to earn a B.S. in nanoscience from the College of Science at Virginia Tech.

As one of only 20 graduating seniors in the nanoscience major, which is part of the college’s Academy of Integrated Science, Seabron accepted her degree at the Biocomplexity Institute in Steger Hall among shouts of support and cheers from her peers, friends, and family.

Social media has proven that more than just her personal connections are proud of her accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Seabron said of her post going viral. “It’s overwhelming, but I love it.”

Hours before commencement, Seabron spoke through tears as she reflected on her Virginia Tech experience.

“It is not easy at all being the only African American in the room,” she said. “It’s intimidating.”

She chose not to give up, and in doing so inspired others to pursue the degree. “I’ve actually helped a few other people in my black community transfer into the nanoscience department.”

“I met Ginai during her freshman year while talking to students about our shared interest in nanoscience,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, who also has a nanotechnology background. “We’re proud of her success, and I greatly appreciate her many contributions to the university community. Her strength and insight have been very helpful to me in our efforts to make the Virginia Tech experience more inclusive. I have no doubt that great things are ahead for her.”

Her advice to future students comes from lessons she’s learned along the way.

“Continue to push,” she said. “Rely on your family and your friends. Reach out to your professors. Go to office hours. Create your own office hours if you have to. Be social. Step out of your comfort zone. Get to know the people in your class—they could become your study buddies. You’ll think you’re the only person struggling, but as it turns out, everybody’s struggling.”

With the term “family,” she’s referring to more than just relatives. While her kin have been an incredible support system, the relationships she built through her involvement on campus have sustained her on long days and even longer nights.

“The black community at Virginia Tech is wonderful,” she said. “The Black Cultural Center and everyone in the cultural and community centers are all amazing. They know me as Auntie Nai here. They’re really my family away from home. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it. I can promise you that.”

In response to their encouragement, Seabron served as president of the Black Organizations Council and was a member of Enlightened Gospel Choir, where she was awarded for her commitment to diversity and inclusion at the University Student Leadership Awards. She was a resident advisor during her junior year, a teaching assistant during her sophomore year, and has volunteered with College Mentors for Kids.

“I love helping others, and in every single one of those positions, I’ve had the great opportunity of meeting and helping out other people,” Seabron said. “And they’ve also helped me through.”

Ginai’s mother, Sherita Seabron, describes her daughter as a natural-born leader and said last weekend’s events created the best Mother’s Day she could ask for.

“I feel overjoyed and overwhelmed with emotion,” Sherita said. “I knew she was destined for greatness, and I’m just excited to see what’s next for her.”

Ginai’s post-graduation plans have yet to be solidified, but one thing is certain: she’s looking forward to getting more sleep.

Photo Credit: Steven Mackay
Source: Original article from Student Affairs at Virginia Tech

Backed By Arielle Zuckerberg, Juni Learning’s 20-Something Female Founders Are Teaching Kids To Code

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Ruby Lee, 26, and Vivian Shen, 25, believe that their one-year-old startup, Juni Learning, can succeed in the crowded field of online coding instruction for kids. Last week Juni announced a roster of angel investors who contributed to a $790,000 funding round. They include Mark Zuckerberg’s youngest sister, Arielle, a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins, where Lee used to work.

Lee and Shen, who met as classmates at Stanford, are modeling Juni on VIPKIDS, the China-based startup recently valued at $3 billion. VIPKIDS pays an army of 60,000 American teachers to moonlight as online English instructors for students in China.

Lee and Shen rely on computer science students at schools like Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Harvard and MIT, whom they recruit through Facebook groups and through word-of-mouth. Juni pays its instructors $20 to $25 an hour to teach private and semiprivate online coding classes to students who range in age from kindergarten through high school. It charges a monthly subscription fee of $250 for weekly private one-hour lessons and $160 for semiprivate sessions. So far Juni has more than 300 students in 10 countries and 27 states, many of whom have signed on for six months or more.

Juni is competing with established live-instruction coding schools like CodeWizardsHQ and Tekkie Uni. But Shen said that most of them teach students in large groups. The majority of Juni’s courses are one-on-one, and Shen said she and Lee have put together a sequenced curriculum, starting with instruction in the Python computer language, that prepares students for most college computer science programs. “When we talked to high schools,” she said, “we found that they struggled to find a standardized curriculum.”

Shen was in Manhattan this week to visit friends. She also met with Randi Zuckerberg and talked about signing Zuckerberg’s 8-year-old up for Juni classes. And she appeared on Zuckerberg’s Sirius XM radio show and discussed entrepreneurship.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

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Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs.It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.