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The 8-Year Journey from Arroyo to Adobe: One Techbridge Girl's Story

Jessica Wong walked confidently into the Techbridge office and warmly greeted familiar faces. Jessica, a Techbridge alumnus, is finishing up her computer science degree from UC Berkeley and will start working as a software engineer at Adobe in the fall.  Jessica is an embodiment of the impact Techbridge programs can have for young girls as they become young women entering college and the workforce. We love seeing Techbridge alumni visit the office or classroom and we were thrilled to hear more about her experience in Techbridge and beyond. 

Jessica participated in the Techbridge after-school program at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo. The program provided her opportunities to participate in fun and interesting activities—making lip balm and working on Claymation were among her favorites—and experience science in a new way. Being in Techbridge also gave Jessica crucial life skills and confidence that changed the way she approached challenging herself and taking risks. Jessica recalled, “Techbridge was really great about highlighting your successes. Even if you didn’t do something correctly or ideally, what you did well [that worked] is encouraged.” 

 

Jessica was inspired by her Techbridge peers, teachers, and role models who visited her classroom. She remembers a software engineer changing her perception about computer engineering; she went from thinking the field was vague and distant to realizing the impact that computer scientists can have. In her freshman year at Berkeley, Jessica was feeling frustrated with her pre-med major and began to consider computer science after thinking back to her time in Techbridge. She contacted CEO/Executive Director, Linda Kekelis, who connected her with Techbridge alumnae who were studying computer science at Berkeley. Jessica met these women and they told her about their exciting projects and career aspirations. They encouraged her as she took her first computer science course and eventually switched majors, and were key connections for Jessica as she faced a difficult transition. 

 

Despite feelings of intimidation and a challenging computer science course load, Jessica persevered. “You have the ability to get past [believing] you don’t belong or are inferior. That is when you strive and thrive.” Strive and thrive, she did. Jessica excelled in computer science and loved the creative aspect of problem solving and software design. She volunteered with an organization teaching programming to high school students in Oakland, became a computer science tutor, and studied abroad at the University of Tokyo.

 After her junior year, Jessica landed an interview for a summer internship at Adobe. After reflecting on her interview, Jessica concluded that she could have done better and emailed the interviewer with revisions to her answers. Showing persistence, self-awareness, and willingness to adapt--Jessica got the internship the next day. After spending the summer putting her skills to the test, Jessica was offered a full time position at Adobe post-graduation!

Jessica joined Techbridge to have fun with hands-on science experiments, but she stayed because “Techbridge created the environment where I felt I was doing something I could be proud of.” We are proud of you too, Jessica, and we hope to see many more Techbridge girls come back as alumnae and share their stories! Learn how alumnae can stay involved with Techbridge here.

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