STEMinist Profile: Kiki Prottsman, President/CEO, Thinkersmith

Kiki Prottsman

Kiki Prottsman


What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My father was always very interested in technology. He encouraged me to build it, explore with it, and enjoy it. He used to tell me that the job I would have as an adult probably hadn’t been invented yet. That outlook helped me become comfortable with the idea of exploring a career in an area with few peers. To some extent, I think I looked forward to that.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Creating my non-profit, Thinkersmith, has been pretty darn cool. It’s been so exciting to take the creativity and passion that I grew up with and spread it to others — introducing them to computer science in a way that makes them feel individual and inspired, instead of bored. It’s also liberating to know that all of this can be done in a way that’s ultimately good for society and not just commerce.

Role models and heroes:
My hero in this industry has to be Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. She was such a character! Quite a brave and intelligent individual. Her ingenuity brought many advances to the field of computer science, but she remained such a humble woman.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Hold your head high and smile. If you want it, go for it. Whether you’re the only girl in your group or you’re surrounded by estrogen, you can make a positive and memorable contribution to your team. Don’t get stuck thinking that the only valid jobs already exist. Figure out what you love to do and convince someone that they need you to do it!

Favorite website or app:
Picture Me in Computing provides a link to some fabulous resources for women in technology.

Twitter: @kiki_lee, @thinkersmith

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