Meet past recipient Sarada Symonds. From travels and studies around the world to a career path in cyber security, Sarada continues to learn in the STEM community. Learn more about her path!
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
As a college freshman, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but during my first semester I took an intro to engineering class and I found out that I loved programming. I think computer science appeals to me because I love thinking about how to make things more efficient, and I love being absorbed in a project. It’s always rewarding to see the final product once you have a working program. I also like that I can have such a positive impact on so many people, especially now that I’m more focused on cyber security.
What do you like best about your university’s STEM programs?
I love that my university offers a lot of great resources on campus. During my first semester, even though I had never written code before, I had the chance to get involved in research and learn about multithreaded programming. Through the Society of Women Engineers, I had the chance to volunteer and encourage other young women to pursue careers in STEM. Furthermore, our university has a co-op program, so I gained experience working in the industry and figured out what I want to do for the rest of my life.
What advice can you share to other young women pursuing STEM degrees?
I always like to remind myself that everybody starts at zero. If you’re just beginning to learn about a new topic and it seems like everybody is already an expert, just remember that everyone else started in the same place as you.
How has the WFiT scholarship program impacted your educational and professional development?
Last year, I studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. There were a lot of expenses involved, and I was only able to go abroad due to help from scholarship programs. Living in Ireland was an amazing experience, and I think it was important to experience another culture and see other parts of the world. I met a lot of great people, not only from Ireland but from other parts of the United States.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll hopefully be working at a cyber security firm. I also believe that by then I’ll have at least partially completed a graduate degree specializing in cyber security.
When you are not studying, what do you like to do for fun?
I usually like to relax with a good book! I’ve loved mystery books since I was kid and started reading Nancy Drew. I also try to go outside and explore when I can, and I like to jog in the mornings in my local park.
Give us a fun fact about you!
I got scuba certified in Spain last summer! So far I’ve been scuba diving off the coast of Spain and Croatia, where I saw dolphins, octopi, and eels.
Who is your biggest female role model in the STEM field?
I really love that Limor Fried developed some amazing technology and pursued something that she was passionate about.
What is your favorite flavor ice cream?
Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
This is a tough one because my travel bucket list is so long. I think my top choice right now is Tanzania. I want to go on a safari, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and it’s just a quick drive to Zanzibar, which has some of the best diving in the world. I just love exploring new things and visiting new cultures.