Women Who Are Leaving Their Mark in Tech
By: Courtney Connley
According to a report from Girls Who Code, about 74 percent of young women express interest in STEM fields and computer science, yet just 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computer science jobs are held by women.
While the statistics continue to prove that a lot of work needs to be done to bridge the gender gap in tech, there are some women who are slowly but surely making their mark in the industry with a rolodex of accomplishments that are far too great to ignore. From engineers to pilots and Silicon Valley CEOs, the following women prove that they are more than just ‘hidden figures’ in today’s tech space.
Tierra Guinn: At just 22 years old, Guinn is ahead of the game having already scored a job working as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer for the Space Launch System that Boeing is building for NASA. Still a young college student, Guinn will be graduating from MIT soon with a 5.0 GPA.
Jeanette Epps: In May 2018, Epps will become the first African American space station crew member when she embarks on her first space flight as a flight engineer on Expedition 56. Having served as a NASA Student Researchers Project Fellow while in graduate school, Epps also worked as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.
Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi: Lidey and Hirabayashi are cofounders of Shine Text, which they describe as a daily text message service that addresses negative thought patterns. The two came up with the idea while discussing their own workplace issues and hopes the app tackles the confidence gap many women face, which is oftentimes a barrier when it comes to career advancement, raising money, investing and planning for retirement. The app currently has thousands of users and has been growing by 20% each week.
Charlotte Kiang: At just 25, Kiang is a Mission Integration Engineer at SpaceX. Having originally studied humanities at Wellesley College, this Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree was inspired to become an engineer after reporting on NASA’s space shuttle launch as an intern at Mic in 2011. Prior to joining SpaceX, Kiang worked at Boeing and as an AP computer science teacher.
Maci Peterson: In 2014, Peterson founded the lifesaving app On Second Thought, which allows you to take back text messages you didn’t mean to send. Having won awards like the #StartupOasis pitch competition at South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Women Who Tech Startup Challenge, Peterson’s app has also garnered media attention from HLN, The Real, USA Today, The Huffington Post and more.
Kimberly Anyadike: In 2009, 15-year-old Anyadike became the youngest African American female pilot to fly a plane across country. Inspired by the Tuskegee airmen, she flew a single-engine Cessna from her hometown of Compton, CA to Newport News, VA within 13 days.
Yunha Kim: At only 27, Kim knows all about breaking into tech and gaining funding for your business. She is the founder of a new app called Simple Habit, which offers five-minute meditation sessions for busy people. Prior to Simple Habit, Kim quit her job as an investment banker and founded an app maker for smartphone lock screens. She raised $3.2 million in venture capital funding for the app and then sold it to e-commerce company Wish in 2015.
Laura Gomez: Gomez is a prime example of someone who knows how to turn words into action. Having worked at major tech companies like YouTube and Twitter and seeing firsthand the need for more diversity in the industry, Gomez started her own company called Atipica, which offers tech companies solutions to their diversity hiring problem. She says the idea for her company was sparked after speaking on a USA Today panel in 2014 about closing the racial gap in Silicon Valley. So far, her company has raised $2 million in seed funding, which is believed to be one of the largest seed funding rounds for a Silicon Valley tech company run by a Latina founder.
Courtney Connley is a writer, editor and digital journalist with a sweet spot for storytelling and helping millennials win in the workplace and in life. She considers brunching to be a full-time hobby and enjoys anything that involves avocado or a good book. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at courtneyconnley.com and follow her latest happenings on social media @classicalycourt.