Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Julie Pedraza, Computer Programmer

Julie Pedraza

Julie Pedraza

Computer Programmer
Texas K-12 Pubic School District



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
While growing up I did not have access to a computer at home. So I remember being fascinated the first time I sat down in a computer lab to do a Math lesson followed by the fun challenge of safely guiding a frog across traffic. I knew that when I grew up, my life would be inevitably tied with this Technology.

My interest in the field of Computer Science was nurtured by my involvement with numerous STEM after-school actives and participating in Tech Prep Summer Enrichment Programs at my local University. I attended a Technology Magnet High School that further introduced me to the many careers in STEM coupled with technology oriented classes that were fun and challenging.

My high school teachers were great mentors and always made available the resources to stay engaged in technology. They gave me the confidence to participate in many STEM related student competitions. My passion for technology has only strengthened and and I continuously strive to keep learning in the ever-changing world of technology!

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
While pursuing my Graduate Studies in Computer Science, I started working full time in the Special Projects Division of a local company. I was immediately given the lead position on a major company-wide project under the guidance of my IT Manager and Supervisor. I took the challenge head-on and leveraged my extensive educational background to work through the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) process to help build an application that would be integrated with a new system.

I methodically worked my way from the initial project planning stages and requirements gathering, system analysis, design and implementation, and ending with testing, deployment, and maintenance of the completed integrated application. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with key department administrators/staff. Building something that people use and rely on every single day, from the ground up, is a reward unlike any other!

Role models and heroes:
I attribute my parents as being my first and foremost roles models who have always instilled in me the value of education, hard work, perseverance and patience. Nothing worth anything ever comes easy! My husband is my STEM partner and constant reminder to never underestimate my potential.

Advice for future STEMinists?
The journey towards a STEM career requires hard-work and dedication, is filled with challenges, and is ultimately rewarding. Being a woman in a STEM career, you will more than likely be the minority in the classroom and in the workplace. Do not get discouraged when you find yourself in this situation. Never give in to fear but aim to keep moving forward with increasing determination!

Seek to engage and participate in STEM activities because it can open doors of opportunities and will give you chance to network with others in this field who are willing to serve as mentors!

Favorite website or app: I love Twitter!

Twitter: @juliendanny

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