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#MyDreamistobeaSoftwareDeveloper

Estefanie Alvarez
Estefanie Alvarez President at UIC / Math and Computer Science Major
over 1 year UIC, West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL, United States Story
#MyDream is to be a Software Developer

When it comes to bucket list I have the typical things you hear in everyone else's:

1) Skydive / Jump out of a plane

2)Visit the Seven Wonders

3) Meet the love of my life

One thing that stands out from that list is my dream to be a software developer. I started out college thinking I was going to med school and becoming a doctor. That has always been my childhood dream and after taking chem classes and orgo I knew it wasn't for me. I knew that I liked science but to be more specific I liked tech. It started in high school, I created video games. With the help of my teachers, I was able to submit my game to a college competition and it received recognition to my surprise. I was creating algorithms and code at such an early age and I didn't even realize it since I found it fun! 

In college even though I was taking med classes I decided to take a computer science class just for fun. That helped me realize what my true dream was. Even though I knew it wasn't going to be an easy road I took the challenge head-on. Advisors told me not change majors and to continue medicine but I knew I couldn't. I realized that if I was going to study something difficult I would make it something I enjoyed. I didn't take no for an answer and I visited different advisors until one was able to direct me in the right direction. I had no idea where to start or what I was getting myself into in this field. All I knew is that not many women are studying Computer Science and Mathematics, that it would be a challenge, and that deep down I knew I had to pursue it.

I wasn't prepared for all the no's and I had no idea that being a woman in the tech field would yield me to so many obstacles. As challenges came up I looked for mentors, for women like me in this situation. I did my research to see if everything I was experiencing was just me or if other women experienced it too. Impostor syndrome was something I always felt when I walked into my classes and internships. I tried to change my style since I would always wear makeup and I started storing my pink accessories to make more bland outfits. I figured that it would help me blend in and make me feel like I belonged so my peers and professors would take me more seriously. In reality, I felt even more uncomfortable. My girly style made me feel better and soon I realized I had to embrace it. If people didn't take me seriously then that was their problem I just had to speak up to be heard and recognized. I was going to study hard and look cute while doing it!

I looked for social and networking events that were more latina and women-oriented in tech. I also surrounded my self with other people with similar goals as mine. All of this plus the help of my family I am proud to find myself at this point in my education and career. In one year this dream won't just be a dream anymore but a reality!  


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Estefanie Alvarez
President at UIC / Math and Computer Science Major

President of Mogul at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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