Maria-Alexandra Radu

MSc Student, University of Bath

And - Sr Associate Software Engineer, JPMC

,,

You should be really proud of what you have achieved so far and you should know that the world of STEM needs all of us.

What do you do?

I work in Public Cloud and communities of practice and engagement. Trying to get the best tools, experiences, services and learning for our engineers and employees to advance our multi-cloud strategy and implementation.

Why did you choose this field?

My passion for computer science started with my mom, when I was a little girl and I visited her workplace where she used to code in FoxPro while she worked for a car manufacturing company. FoxPro was a very old text-based procedurally oriented programming language and database management system but it fascinated me how she could talk to computers and she began teaching me about talking to machines by writing code on a typewriter, the beauty of the computer was that she also had Kong installed and that made me curious about creating games from code. As the years passed I selected to learn computer science in middle school and we started with Pascal, which was an interesting language and similar to FoxPro. Today I giggle at experimenting with programming languages from before the internet age, like the ones I used when I was younger and I realize that choosing my undergraduate thesis to be based on retaining and recruiting women in STEM and then pursuing a master in computer science is just coming full circle from being that young girl that thought my mom was making magic while programming and me programming for virtual and voice assistants are making the same kind of magic I was inspired by so many years ago.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Over the years, I have been continuously involved in mentoring, recruiting and supporting women in STEM because I realised that we all needed to make an effort to encourage and support diversity in tech, I wish I knew this was possible when I was younger and did it sooner. This was triggered by the difference in numbers of women in STEM in Eastern Europe, where I grew up, and Western Europe, where I studied and started my tech career. In Romania, it was common to have female STEM teachers, developers or engineers, however, in the UK it was the opposite. That made me more passionate about supporting diversity in technology and in 2012 I started as a mentor and supporting Stemettes events, that target girls and women of all ages, but especially younger girls and get them to realise STEM is for everyone.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I think that being amazed and intrigued by something when you are younger leaves a mark on what you want to do in the future, for me, that mark was to become a software engineer and work in STEM. Making experiences and helping people with code is like magic to me and I love making life better and easier for those around me using it.

Best advice for next generation?

You should be really proud of what you have achieved so far and you should know that the world of STEM needs all of us, in our wonderful mix of talents, personalities, backgrounds, experiences and failures, to be truly inclusive and accessible in what we build, design and create.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“It's only a choice. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” - Bill Hicks

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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