Hi! My name is Ceray and I work as a IT Manager for a school district. I have been working in technology for about 7 years. I really enjoy taking a part computers and interacting with the latest tech gadgets. I also have a tech blog and podcast. I'm from Boston,MA. I was born in America but my family is from Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Name: Ceray Fanta
Alma Mater: Simmons University
STEM Career Path: Information Technology Manager
Who/What inspired you to become interested in technology?
CF: At an entry level work study job in college I saw a woman tech replace a broken iMac screen. I had never seen computer hardware being repaired and I was so interested in it. It just looked so cool and I just new I wanted to fix computers and work with technology.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with one woman in STEM who would it be and why?
CF: Wow, there are so many! If I had to choose in this moment it would be the Youtuber TechMeOut. She is a black woman and she does amazing tech videos on YouTube. She does product reviews, tech hauls and unboxings. Her videos are so well made, she seems really down to earth and she is one of the few black women tech bloggers on YouTube. I would love to meet her and talk tech!
What struggles have you faced as an African American woman in STEM thus far?
CF: Just feeling down that there aren't many black women in the field. I wish I saw more black women in networking events, in my tech certification classes and even on Youtube as tech bloggers.
How did you overcome those struggles?
CF: Recently, I decided to shift my online platform into helping and inspiring black women to get into tech. I want to be a resource that black woman can go to if they have questions about tech or if they are struggling with something in their tech careers. When I was getting started into tech I was not exposed to any resources like that and I would now love to give back, help out and be a resource for black women techies.
Tell us about the unique ways you are able to advocate technology to your target audience.
CF: I love showing my audience videos and pictures of me taking a part or upgrading computer hardware. I just feel like it's such a strong image. We rarely see black hands yet alone black hands with pink nail polish, doing things like that in work stock image photos, on YouTube computer hardware tutorials or in class instruction. It's so important to me that I show that to my audience which is mostly black women, that they can do this too and even more!
Best Advice You Have Ever Received?
CF: The biggest piece of career advice I always keep with me comes from a systems administrator who told me, “You have to be hungry for it!" It's my mindset for my career, just being a go getter. Reading books, taking classes, getting certifications, building my skills and networking. Doing all that you can to reach your goals.
Currently, what is your favorite tech hack?
CF: Connecting my smart light bulbs to my Alexa speakers. I love being able to say, Alexa, turn off/on the bedroom lights. Alexa turn the lights pink. I love that!
Fun Fact about you
CF: I love working out! Most mornings I wake up at 5am to take a spin class or to lift weights. It's one the many habits I have used to grow in tech. After an early morning workout, I have so much more energy and it makes it easier to get going on work once I get into the office. And of course since I love working out and I'm a techie, I really enjoy fitness gadgets and apps. My favorite fitness watch at the moment are the Fitbit watches!
For young women of color that are interested in pursuing technology how do they get there ?
CF: Get as much exposure to tech as possible. Do informational interviews with tech professionals to gain more insight into what it is like working in the field. Do research on what classes, certifications and skills you need to work in tech. Go to those classes, study hard for certifications and practice your skill set. Find some women of color online or in-person who are in the the tech field and build relationships with them. Always remember even if you do not see anyone who looks like you along your journey into tech, you still belong there and just keep going. You can do it!