What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I took my first class at SILS during my first year at UNC. I was 17 and had no idea what I wanted to major in. I took an Intro to Information Science class and it opened my eyes to the wide variety of possibilities in this field. After that I never looked back.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
After graduation I joined the Information Technology Leadership Program at GE Oil & Gas. It is a two-year program, and during that time I traveled around the world completing trainings and working in various parts of the IT organization. I completed six-month rotations in business analytics, commercial software development, ERP, and supply chain systems. After graduating the program in August 2016, I took a role in the Brilliant Factory organization as a Senior Technical Product Manager.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
I am responsible for creating the product roadmap, defining requirements, and leading a team of software developers through execution on software applications used at GE manufacturing facilities around the world.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
In my current role, we just successfully launched the first release of the application I've been working on for six months. It is so rewarding to see something go from sketches on paper to a real application with 150 users. This is only the first step, and ultimately, the application will be used daily in more than 50 Oil & Gas manufacturing facilities around the world. I've gained a lot of experience about software development, but have learned even more about how to be a strong leader and make tough decisions. I've had to step out of my comfort zone, rely on the foundation that I've built for myself and trust my gut. So far, it's paying off.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS??
I enjoyed the class that I took on privacy in the digital world. It has become so relevant over the past few years, I get excited to read about it every time I see it in the news. I also enjoyed the courses that focused on organizations and the inner-workings behind how companies are run. Those courses really prepared me to enter the corporate world.
How did your time at SILS prepare you for the future?
I learned to be confident in myself and my abilities. As an undergraduate at SILS, I had the opportunity to take a lot of graduate-level courses. Being surrounded by people with more educational and professional experience than me made me push myself further than I would have in a traditional undergraduate setting. I also learned from their experiences during the seminar courses. I wouldn't be nearly as successful in my current role without the course I took on the software development life cycle. It was one of the most demanding courses that I took at UNC, but the work I did in that class was 100% applicable to the business world. Even five years later, I still apply lessons from that course on a daily basis.
What inspires or motivates you?
I'm inspired by creating something out of nothing. Leading the development of software applications is incredible because I get to watch my vision come to life. I get to see how all the individual decisions I make work together to become something that adds value to our employees and our company.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
A degree from SILS can open so many doors in your future - whether you want to work for a non-profit or a Fortune 10 company. The skill set that you'll gain is applicable for nearly any field you choose to pursue. Joining SILS was the best decision that I made at Carolina.