I recently had the opportunity to talk with a truly inspiring lady, Carrie Mah. Carrie is a full time student at the University of Calgary currently pursuing her degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction and a minor in Visual Studies. Carrie was born in Oyen, Alberta and moved to Calgary when she was five. She’s had an interest in computers since she was ten years old.
Check out the interview with Carrie below:
So how did you get interested in technology?
When I was ten years old, my parents got my sister and I a computer. I was a heavy computer user, but I also enjoyed playing educational games, like ClueFinders, and video games with my cousin – he had all the Nintendo game systems and we spent hours on them.
It wasn’t until Grade 9, when I attended a one-day conference called Explore IT. Grade 9 girls were encouraged to get into the STEM field by participating in workshops. The one that impacted me the most was Dr. Ehud Sharlin’s workshop, where he showed us his student’s research in the field of Human Computer Interaction and Human Robotics Interaction. We got to play with some robots and that’s when I knew I would go to the University of Calgary to get a Computer Science degree and work in the Interactions Lab.
“We got to play with some robots and that’s when I knew I would go to the University of Calgary to get a Computer Science degree and work in the Interactions Lab.”
It’s great that you got opportunities like that at a young age.
Are there any tech projects you’re currently working on?
I have recently started tinkering more with electronics, but have yet to do a cool project with it. You can usually find me working on websites, from designing the user experience, interface, and coding it up. I also enjoy creating applications from beginning to end!
That’s cool that you create applications!
What kind of applications have you worked on recently that you’d like to share?
I don’t have anything that you can download officially, but I have participated in hackathons such as the Edu App Challenge, where a team and I created a prototype to encourage students to understand their social media activity through a gamified application.
Do you have a favorite coding tool/language that you love to use?
Are there any women that have inspired you?
My mother and my aunts are the women who shaped me into who I am today. My mother sacrificed a lot for our family – always taking care of my Dad, my sister, and I. She is extremely selfless, and unlike most of my friends’ parents, did not pressure me into a specific career path. Her hard work and dedication towards my education helped me realize how important it is for others to get a good education. My aunts taught me how to connect with other people and the importance of modesty, and how to enjoy life outside of school and work and encouraged me to explore the world.
“Seek out opportunities to learn… There are so many opportunities to learn, especially as a woman in tech.”
You have a very supportive family and such inspiring women in your life.
What advice would you give to girls/teens that are interested in tech and looking for support?
Thank you! I am still in the beginning of my journey in tech, but here is the most important thing that I would tell young girls and teens who are interested: seek out opportunities to learn. Learn from your parents, your peers, and teachers. Learn new skills from online courses, articles, podcasts, or extra programs. There are so many opportunities to learn, especially as a woman in tech. If something doesn’t come to you initially, don’t give up – concepts will eventually ‘click’ and you’ll feel super proud of yourself!
That is amazing advice! The desire to learn is definitely a powerful tool.
And lastly, any fun facts about yourself you would like to share with us?
I love turtles, and I own one – Mr.T is about five years old!
Thank you to Carrie for this wonderful interview. We can all draw some great inspiration from her and her experiences. If you’d like to connect with Carrie you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview has been edited for length.
Written by Kakai Mabonga
Kakai is a Content Contributor at Chic Geek and works on awesome posts for the blog. She works in IT Consulting and is completely obsessed with the gym and fitness in her spare time. Connect with Kakai by email.