Name: Kayla Russell
Occupation: IT Support Technician
Employer: Sequence Bio
Education: Computing Systems Engineering Technologist- College of the North Atlantic
What does your typical workday involve?
My typical workday is indoors, working in an open oﬃce environment. I coordinate and manage technical support for my company, so my day-to-day includes (but is not limited to) managing technical support needs, troubleshooting issues as they arise, monitoring outages across our tools, working with my team to ensure there is no downtime. From time to time I get to travel, sometimes around the island. We are a start-up company, so I get to do a lot of fast-pace work.
What do you most love about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
I love being able to help people understand technology. For a lot of people, it is scary and can be dangerous. When you know how to use it right, it can be the most useful tool a person can have. Bridging the gap between people and technology can be extremely rewarding - watching broken things being ﬁxed, helping someone complete a task, showing someone a new skill. These are some of the highlights of my day.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
When I was in high school (approx. 7 years ago) I spent a lot of time playing video games, and surﬁng the web on my laptop. I was fairly tech-savvy. It was in my grade 12 year that I decided I wanted to work with computers, or as a heavy equipment operator. I chose the technical sector due to my interests, and an increasing demand for jobs. As long as there are computers, we’ll need folks to ﬁx them! I haven’t regretted my decision.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
I went to a very small school, so we only really had the basic courses. I loved science, speciﬁcally chemistry and biology (which have proved helpful in my current job) and I also loved history and English. I had an amazing teacher for that, and it honestly shaped how I learned
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
Do not give up! It is a highly male-dominant work environment, but do not let that scare you. There are so many opportunities within the world of technology
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
It is a male dominant area, and that makes people believe it needs men to work. But that is not the case. Women are just as capable of having incredibly successful careers doing something in the technical or skilled trades area. If you have an interest in one of those ﬁelds, you should peruse it, regardless.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
I think this has changed many times throughout my life - and I think that’s really important. As I meet new people, I ﬁnd inspiration in everyone. Even if it’s what not to do. One person who has inspired me my whole life, is my pop. He has worked hard his entire life to support the people he loves. He is 76, and still works everyday. He has taught me so much.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
As you may have guessed, video games has been a large interest of mine my entire life. I was 5 when my parents got me an Nintendo 64 for my birthday. I also love reading, watching movies, and music. Music is a huge inﬂuence in my life. You can always ﬁnd me with my music a bit too loud.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
Wonder Woman. She is an Amazon in modern day - taking over the business world and being viewed as highly successful, while still ﬁghting crime and evil. They are an incredibly strong group of women.
Anything else you wish to share?
If you are interested in this ﬁeld, push for it. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. I didn’t have many learning opportunities for technology, and I feel like I may have missed out on some gain because of that. It is 100% okay to be direct in what you want. Get it!!!
STEM for GIRLS
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