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Women Who Reign: Kristi Belcher

“A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.” — Marge Piercy

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I am a senior Computer Science major (Mathematics minor) at Texas State University in San Marcos. While working toward my Bachelor’s I have gone to numerous conferences, including the Grace Hopper Celebration and GPU Technology Conference (GHC). I have also had an internship with ExxonMobil doing web development and I am doing another internship with Qualcomm this summer. Fun fact about me: I love collecting local original art pieces and collecting Japanese teapots and teas!

What # would define your life journey?
I guess just because I am a Computer Science major, I would have to say the #42 best describes my journey.

Favorite website / app:
I’m not sure I have a favorite website really, but I do like which is really awesome when you’re trying to teach yourself stuff.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
My mentor and professor, Dr. Burtscher, inspires me most in my work. He has taught me everything I know about Parallel Computing (which is now my research area)

Song that makes you want to dance:
I’m a Michael Jackson fan all the way, so any MJ song always makes me want to dance. I also enjoy dancing to the opening theme song of the TV series, Dexter!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I have to overcome a lot of technical challenges in my research. For example, trying to parallelize different codes to work on multiple GPUs within the same compute node. After many hours of work with my mentor guiding me along the way, we figured it out!

Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be something in parallel computing (big data or other HPC application), but that doesn’t always require me to be stuck behind a desk all day.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Something I would like to tell other women is to never give up. I know it seems simple, but it’s so true. I have had people actually tell me that “men are usually better at math than girls” and imply that the only reason I got my research position with my professor was because I was pretty. Most women will experience this, but they can’t let that stop them. It’s so important to know that you can do anything if you put your mind to it! Everybody is born with the same capacity to learn and do great things, the only thing that stands in our way is our motivation, determination, and self-confidence. Don’t let other people take that last one away from you. (By the way, after I was told that usually men are better in math than girls, I took that to be my ultimate motivation. I got a 4.0 in my math minor so that I could go back to that same guy who told me that and tell him I got an A in every single math class. It was the best day of my life. I got better grades in math than his own son.)