VIP is proud to mark ten years of the Women in Technology Scholarship (WITS) program, our hallmark scholarship program that supports young women across the nation who are pursuing degrees in information technology. As we celebrate the tenth year of WITS, we reached out to our past recipients to talk about their careers in this thriving industry and journeys as women in tech.
Meet Adrienne Dunham, a 2012 WITS recipient who earned her B.A. in Computer Science from Seattle Pacific University. Today, she shares her secrets to success in the technology industry and how she landed a job as a Software Engineer at the Walt Disney Company.
Current Location: Seattle, WA
Current Occupation: Software Engineer
Best word to describe yourself: Curious
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today: I hadn’t seriously considered studying computer science until I took a few introductory programming classes at a community college. As my interest grew, I started asking my mom to tell me more about her experiences with programming in college and her early career. I was accepted to Seattle Pacific University and earned my bachelor’s in computer science only after becoming all too familiar with the struggles and joys of writing and debugging code. I interned through a program called Research Experience for Undergraduates, and then at Disney where I have since been working on various software teams and projects. I’ve continued to look for new opportunities to learn, even once convincing my mom to join me in an online course about the history of the Internet.
What are your favorite, must-have apps, tools, or software? Honestly, the software landscape is changing so quickly that I’m constantly finding new favorites and discarding the old. Also, for everything I use, there’s arguably an equally good competitor.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To be self-aware, whether that be making time to play around with a new technology you find interesting or not taking work home when you’re burned out.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the technology industry? I’ve had wonderful experiences being empowered and encouraged in the tech industry. My biggest hurdle has always been my own – to have confidence in myself, to speak up, be bold.
What was your favorite college class and why? I had the pleasure of taking a cross-country skiing class in college. Every week I looked forward to being in the mountains. In my major, I enjoyed the computer architecture course where we got to explore what happens in a computer down at the most basic level.
What motivates you? Interacting and collaborating with people.
Fun fact about you: I own a retired racing greyhound who is as lazy as a cat.