Paige Henderson

Paige Henderson

Michigan State University


Majors:

Computer Science & Engineering

Arabic

Minor:

German

My Activities:

Women in Computing President

Women in Engineering Ambassador

Work Experience:

Michigan State University's Dancing Computer

Kohl's

Union Pacific

My Passion:

Throughout college, my studies in Computer Science helped me to discover one of my great passions in life: empowering women and minority groups to pursue studies and careers in male-dominated fields. Through my work as a Professorial Assistant my freshman and sophomore years of college, I witnessed firsthand the sad truth that women and minority groups tend to get less exposure than their white male counterparts to computing at the high school level. This experience, in addition to attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing during the fall of my junior year, motivated me to take action.

At Michigan State University, there is a student organization called Women in Computing. Having been a member since my freshman year, I knew there must be some way I could get involved and start having a positive impact on my classmates and peers. The then-President suggested starting a Lean In Circle. After having just heard Sheryl Sandberg speak at GHC a month prior, I thought this was a phenomenal idea! One other WIC member and I got the ball rolling on starting a Lean In Circle, and it was an instant hit among all who attended. Our true test would be to see if Lean In's momentum from the second semester of my junior year would carry into the next fall.

Near the end of my junior year, I decided to run for President of WIC for the following school year. I ended up winning the election, and although I would certainly miss facilitating WIC's Lean In Circles, I was excited for the challenge that lie ahead. WIC was blessed with a new Lean In Chair who did her job extremely well, and I often got feedback from our members that Lean In was their favorite part of WIC. Things definitely got hectic at times as the President. From managing the executive board to resolving issues that arose right before meetings started, there was never a shortage of tasks to be accomplished. However, through all of the stress and time consumed, I was given the unique opportunity to encourage, support, and lead a group of women, and men, during a potentially very difficult period of time to continue to strive for and achieve their goals. I can honestly say that this feeling was one of the most fulfilling I have ever felt.

In addition to my involvement with Women in Computing, I had the great honor of being an Ambassador for Women in Engineering Recruitment and K-12 Outreach for two years. I truly believe that this was the best job I could have had during my college years. I attended robotics competitions at local high schools, outreach events hosted by MSU, and presentations put on for prospective students. These events, among various others, taught me the value of having an older, female role model in the position that a given individual aspires to be in one day.

Although I don't have any side projects to show for my college days, the experiences that I did have were of much more value to me than any side project could have been. I decided to invest my time in people, not code, and I don't regret this decision for a minute. I've always told people that Computer Science is a great field to go into, because you can pair any passion with Computer Science and make a career out of it. For me, Computer Science opened my eyes to the lack of diversity in STEM fields, and I hope to use my degree as a vehicle to help solve this problem.



Go Green!