FutureStack Scholarship Spotlight: Gloria Kimbwala (Geek Girl) and Katie Leonard (Portland Code School)

futurestack-logo.png__768×200_At New Relic, we are committed to increasing diversity across the development and technology community which is why we have awarded 10 FutureStack scholarships to standout candidates. Each recipient is unique in his or her own way – some are in the early stages of their education, while others are just embarking on their career and several are mentors in the community – but what they all have in common is that each have big visions of what the future of modern software will look like.

This post will be the first of many where our scholarship winners chime in on how they envision technical innovation in the years to come.

Today we’re talking to Gloria Kimwala, a Geek Girl instructor, and Katie Leonard, an active member of Portland Code School. Here’s what they had to say…

What corner of the tech industry are you most excited to see grow and evolve?

Gloria: The area of technology that I am most excited to see grow is the connected car and the connected home industry – these are products that I use every day. I would love to see more female software engineers get into the connected car and connected home industry so the industry would get a broader perspective of the needs of their female customers.

Katie: I think that education stands the most to gain from adopting new delivery technologies. The staggering growth of informal education opportunities in programming, including massive open online courses and intensive code schools, is inspiring more people from diverse backgrounds to bring their perspective to the industry.

How do you think workplace diversity can help us build better software?

GloriaWorkplace diversity allows for an insider’s voice on how the different users will interact with your software. It can help us build better software because it brings a different perspective and voice to a group of users that might not otherwise be considered.

Katie: Building software is an incredibly creative pursuit, and creativity is often born out of blending diverse experiences and perspectives. I believe that increasing the diversity of the workplace will fuel the development of better software that considers the needs of wider demographics.

What software would you build to significantly improve someone’s quality of life?

Gloria: For my thesis I am currently working on educational software that can be done asynchronously and independently.  Ideally, it would allow students to progress through K-12 common core standards at their own pace. Hopefully it would bring an education to those who would otherwise not have an option. Ideally, it would be built for children in third world countries or under-served communities that do not have access to education but have a hunger to learn. 

Katie: Education immediately springs to mind when I think of how software can improve quality of life. Software is helping to redefine how we imagine the classroom and how we evaluate education, not only for teachers and students, but also for life-long learners such as myself.

For more information about FutureStack, please visit www.futurestack.io.


Morgan Flatley is on the customer marketing team at New Relic. Before making the New Relic marketing team her home, she dabbled in PR for startup tech companies. View posts by .

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