Name: Aisha Jackson
Alma Mater: Spelman College '16 (B.S. in Computer Science), Georgia Tech '17 (B.S. in Computer Engineering)
STEM Career Path: Software Engineer
Who/What inspired you to become interested in software engineering?
AJ: My mom encouraged me to do computer science! I applied to Spelman as a Biology major and was set on becoming a doctor. Prior to Spelman, I only had minimal exposure to programming but didn't see it as something that I could pursue a career in. But, after taking some biology classes my senior year of high school and talking with my mom about my lack of interest, she suggested I try a Computer Science class at Spelman and see if I like it. And of course, I did!
Walk us through your typical work day
AJ: Every morning, I attend a "Stand Up" meeting where everyone talks about what they worked on yesterday, what they will be working on today and any issues they may have. After stand up, I usually look at my schedule to see when I have meetings and plan my work around my meetings. I also try to make a to-do list to keep track of the tasks that I need to get done. If there's an event on campus that day, I also make sure I make time for that.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with one woman in STEM who would it be and why?
AJ: Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code because I really like the organization she started. I was able to volunteer with them at an event in school and I wished that I had something like that when I was growing up. I really value the exposure to programming that the organization provides for young girls prior to going to college or choosing a career.
What has been the most interesting part of your career?
AJ: I definitely think the newness and freshness of it. I'm just starting out in my career and at a company that I thoroughly enjoy. I'm in a rotational program that allows me to have different experiences within 6 month time frames and network with people in different parts of the Nike business. I appreciate being able to work on new projects that impact various parts of the business; it definitely keeps things interesting.
How do you enjoy your weekends?
AJ: Portland is big on outdoorsy things year round, so I've learned to love the outdoors. I've done lots of hiking and will be trying out snow tubing and skiing once the snow comes. I also like traveling along the west coast to Seattle and California and trying new brunch places with friends.
Best Advice You Have Ever Received?
AJ: "It's okay not to know how to do something. It's okay to ask until you know. And it's okay to feel like you won't figure it out, until you do. But, throughout the process, trust yourself, because whatever you need to know to accomplish the task at hand is already within you."
For young women of color that are interested in working for a company such as Nike, how do they get there?
AJ: Network for sure! Utilize LinkedIn/Social Media to find recruiters or people who work at Nike and ask them about their experience. If they recruit at your school, go to the events or apply online, go to their booths at conferences, and intern if you can. Also, keep trying and keep networking because you never know who knows someone who could help you.
Thank You Aisha For Being Such A Great STEMspiration!
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