Participant story: Zelma
“I would like to be an inspiration for a little girl who’s exploring her interests and stumbles upon a photo of me, or some other woman, in the tech field.”
1) Tell us a little about your life.
I am originally from Mississippi, have a degree in Psychology (which I’ve never used), and a long-standing interest in all things design. I went to a small private school deep in the Delta, where I was the only student of color in a sea of 500 white children. Needless to say, I had an identity crisis pretty early on as a Latina in the Deep South.
I recently made the move back to the U.S. from Scandinavia and am trying to adjust back to American life. After 6 months, I can say I’m glad to be home, happy to have access to cheap tacos and enjoy being around all the diversity I missed.
2) What made you decide to apply for Techtonica?
When I first lost my job at the beginning of the pandemic, I didn’t really know what to do with my free time. After a while, I decided to pick up coding again, and soon remembered how much I loved it. I ended up making a portfolio site for a friend, and that’s when I decided I wanted to make the jump from hobbyist to professional. I looked at a myriad of schools and decided on Techtonica because of its mission statement. I am a passionate believer in diversity and inclusion and knew Techtonica would be a good fit based on its ethos.
3) What are you most excited to learn while at Techtonica?
I am really excited about learning back-end development. I have a good grasp of front-end concepts but haven’t learned how to connect a site to a database, process payments, or generate user information. I am also really excited about database architecture and querying.
4) What do you want to contribute to or change about the tech industry?
Representation, as we all know, is very important. I would like to be an inspiration for a little girl who’s exploring her interests and stumbles upon a photo of me, or some other woman, in the tech field. I, myself, saw a woman in a National Geographic article in 2004 that was a software engineer, and before then, I didn’t even know it was a possible career path. I wish someone had encouraged me to follow that path instead of discouraging me at every scholastic turn.
5) What’s your dream project?
I would like to use whatever skills I garner from Techtonica to help others. I would personally like to develop panic attack or binge-eating tracking apps that help individuals with mental health issues function better in their day-to-day lives