Tara Tiger Brown*
When I’m contracting my job title is usually Program Manager, Product Manager, Web/Interactive Producer or Technical Project Manager.
Organization: Teach Me Stuff**
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
Growing up I was surrounded by women who felt comfortable using computers. My Step-mom purchased our family’s first computer that I played RPG games on during the day and she created CAD drawings on at night. My Mom is a huge gamer and teaches college level computing. My Grandma bought her first computer when she was 70 and she used it to email me recipes and design birthday cards.
I liked being on the computer; I loved the sound of the modem as it dialed up to my favorite BBS. Even though in elementary and high school not many other girls were playing around on the PC or Mac, it was totally normal at home. I went on to attend a technical college and have worked in the software business ever since.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I really love the current project I am working on – Teach Me Stuff. I have finally found that sweet spot between my passion, my skillset, a way to make money, and most importantly working with amazing people both on the project and participants in the program. Every day I feel like I’m making a difference in connecting people who need help with those that generously want to donate it.
I’ve never worked this closely with people in academia before and it is fascinating and humbling to marry their years of dedication and passion in digital media learning to something that truly will make a difference in people’s lives.
Role models and heroes:
Every day I hear about a woman doing something really cool, and I think, “I want to meet her!” Fortunately I have surrounded myself with friends who are also my heroes. At the last LAdy Tacos meetup I met the daughter of the guy who invented CAD (my stepmom used to create CAD drawings). It was a pretty cool moment.
My longstanding hero is Roberta Williams. The King’s Quest video game series forced me to get comfortable with our PC Junior and learn how how to use a modem to dial up to the BBS to find hints on playing the game.
Advice for future STEMinists?
Talk Talk Talk about your work – tweet it, blog it, attend meetup groups, join a tech mailing list or IRC channel. The best way to meet other like-minded people for networking, collaborating and even to get a new job is to get yourself out there. I used to think that LA was a lame city for tech, but when I started LAdy Tacos (@ladytacos) and began paying attention to similar groups, I started to realize that LA is bursting with amazing STEM talent.
Favorite website or app:
This is really hard to answer because I have several that I can’t live without. I’ll go with Twitter because I follow a lot of STEM women (I made some lists) as well as news sources that keep me up-to-date with what’s happening in the world.
*People often ask me about “Tiger.” My Dad’s nickname for me since I was born is Tiger. I was also born in the Year of the Tiger and the Tiger is my favorite animal. I’m not really into wearing tiger stripes although I do have a tiger snuggie.
**I don’t have a title with Teach Me Stuff…we’re at the pre-MVP stage so I just do anything that needs to get done – website developer, survey maker, program recruiter, data analyzer, writer, algorithm designer….I don’t think titles are applicable before you actually form a company.