Smiling Faces in Inspiring Places
By Grace, education marketing
By Grace, education marketing
As a first-generation college student and woman in technology, I knew that I would have to work a little harder than most to make my dreams come true. In 2019, I was offered a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), which was the perfect opportunity for me to break beyond these barriers. I had two goals: learn from leaders in the industry and find an internship that I would love.
When I first arrived at GHC, I was overwhelmed by the giant display of support for women in technology. It was heartwarming to see so many people push for equity in the work force.
I knew that I wanted my future company to be passionate enough to support events like this too. That’s what made the Expo Hall so terrifying.
At this point, I wasn’t sure what kind of programming I wanted to do, so I tried to make a good impression on everyone I met. Throughout the event, I met hundreds of recruiters, and told them all the same thing: I wanted to work for a company that had social impact, and where I wouldn’t sit alone at a desk all day. Everyone was pleasant, and I left each conversation thinking “that company is probably pretty cool to work for.”
Then, toward the end of the second day, I met the MathWorks recruiters. When I approached their booth, I was greeted by the biggest smiles I had seen at the event, and the recruiters were actually women! They were passionate about the company and its values, answered all my questions honestly, and told me about their entry-level program—the Engineering Development Group (EDG)—which was designed specifically for exploration. It was the best conversation I had the entire week, and they assured me that I did not need to be a mathematics expert. It was perfect! I applied to the internship program once I got back to school, and I accepted the position a few weeks later.
I started my internship in May 2020, which meant I would be working remotely, so I was nervous. What if they didn’t know what to do with remote interns? What if I ended up working in isolation all summer? How was I going to get my computer set up? I had so many questions, and I felt entirely unprepared. On my first day, all those fears went away. IT had set up office hours for anyone who wanted help getting set up, my project lead set up a meeting to introduce himself, and I got to meet my EDG buddy—a full-time employee who helped me get adjusted. MathWorks was ready for us, and I got started on my first project the following week!
I loved the people I worked with, and between my manager, my EDG buddy, and my project lead, I had an abundance of mentorship that was instrumental in my success.
At some point in my internship, I decided that, if given the opportunity, I wanted to come back to MathWorks full time. I loved the people I worked with, and between my manager, my EDG buddy, and my project lead, I had an abundance of mentorship that was instrumental in my success. Whenever I was stuck or had a question, there was always someone I could go to who could help. In my whole internship, I never felt alone, even as I worked from my bedroom.
I returned to school that fall for my senior year. Somewhere between the senior thesis and job applications, I received a phone call from Massachusetts. My recruiter at MathWorks was calling to offer me a job! In August 2021, I returned to MathWorks, this time as a full-time engineer in the Engineering Development Group at the Natick headquarters.
My time in EDG allowed me to learn a lot and try out different roles before choosing my forever home. I was even able to learn about jobs that I didn’t know existed! I talked with my manager about my interests, and she recommended I reach out to the Education Marketing department. A few Teams calls later, and I was working on a project to create materials for students participating in the Women in Data Science Datathon. It’s a technical position, but I also got to present to customers. It was perfect! A few months later, I transferred to this team, and I am still absolutely loving it.
This position is a blend of my various passions, and I work with a team of amazing people. I get to work with organizations that empower women and teach students how to use MATLAB so they can become the next generation of scientists and engineers—talk about social impact. Without the mentorship MathWorks has offered and without the opportunity to explore, I may have never been able to find a position like this. I am grateful for those smiling faces that greeted me at the Grace Hopper Celebration, and for the smiling faces I get to see and work with every day.