Welcome to the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) Alumnae Stories! For those of you who are new to the Aspirations IT Connect Community, my name Katherine Myers, I am a program alumna and ambassador, and I am currently the host of the #MNAiCAlumnaeStories series on Instagram.
Alumnae Stories is a monthly LIVE Chat — the series provides program participants an online opportunity to connect with alumnae at various stages of their journey as #womenintech, as well as industry leaders and educators. This month I caught up with a fellow MNAiC Award Honoree and alumna, engineer, and geekette, Katelyn France.
ABOUT THE GUEST
Katelyn Jo France is a 2018 MNAiC alumna. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in German Studies at the University of Minnesota – Duluth and plans to continue her schooling to get her PharmD. She is the founder and CEO of Scientists Making Your Life Easier (SMYLE) LLC, a medical technology and mentorship-focused corporation that produces accessible life-saving medical equipment while also providing opportunities for networking and assistance for underserved students who are interested in pursuing STEM projects and careers.
Many of you recently attended the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing’s 8th Annual Award event which was held virtually last month.Award honorees and friends, family and program partners, shared the experience on social media using l#MNAiCLighttheWorld. The leaders at MNAiC wanted to give students something to look forward to amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This year, top-level Awardees from Minnesota high schools were recognized. I enjoyed learning about and celebrating this year’s 43 honorees — congratulations to all of this year’s awardees!
Also for the first time this year, MNAiC recognized a collegiate honoree, Katelyn Jo France. Katelyn always thought she would become a teacher like her mom, but when she saw a YouTube ad for medical bracelets and thought she could make something better, her “accidental” career in biomedical engineering began. A few years later, she created a medical ID bracelet system that utilizes QR codes and has held three patents.
Katelyn became involved in the AiC Community when she saw a poster in 2016 for the Awards and applied — she was awarded in 2017 and 2018! We want to encourage all honorees to join the Facebook Page — the NCWIT AiC Community is invaluable and we both have benefitted from so many engagement opportunities.
Once in college, Katelyn leveraged her unique opportunity as a student to help other students (and in turn benefit as well). Katelyn, like me, attended the University of Minnesota system, which was clearly evident during the interview as we proudly wore our school colors (she being one of the Duluth campus Bulldogs and me a Twin Cities campus Golden Gopher. We love it when our AiC community stays in Minnesota for college! Katelyn participated in the youth program of Minnesota Cup, the Patent Law Clinic, and the Business Law Clinic to help launch her business and wants to share how amazing these resources are!
Katelyn is determined to give back to her hometown of Hinckley-Finlayson. She is a firm believer in the saying, “You can’t be what you don’t see” and wants to encourage young girls in her hometown and region that they can be whatever they want to be — engineers, doctors, tech stars, the possibilities are limitless!
Katelyn and I both love TED Talks, and were able to share some of our favorites! Katelyn loves the “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection” and “Leading with Lollipops” and I love “How a Dress Can Change the World” and “Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers.” Check them out for some amazing advice!
Katelyn and I briefly touched on the current state of the world, the pandemic that has affected all of us in some way. Katelyn and I encourage all of you to look for ways you can use your talents to help your community. For Katelyn, that meant using her sewing skills to make masks for places in her community that need them. We also agree how important it is to stay connected, get outside, and eat healthy (all while washing our hands and social distancing)!
Thank you so much for tuning in! Stay safe and tune in, in June!
Don’t forget changes have been made to the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing 2020 programming in response to the pandemic. View changes here and subscribe to the Aspirations IT Connect Community to receive program updates.
WHY WE CHAT
Alumnae Stories is a syndicated Instagram series. This monthly LIVE Chat. is an effort to provide program participants an online opportunity to connect with alumnae at various stages of their journey as #womenintech, as well as industry leaders and educators.
While the conversations are primarily focused on tech, there will occasionally be an integration of engineering, biology, and other sciences. Our goal is to cultivate a safe space for girls to exchange ideas, insights, ask questions, and connect with peers, educators, and future employers.
Guest alumnae, program partners and industry leaders who agree to chat with us are driven by the desire to pay-it-forward by lending their stories, experiences, advice and professional connections to help build equity for women in the tech sector.
MEET THE HOST
Katherine Myers was a 2015 State AiC Winner during her senior year at Wayzata High School. Since then she has participated in three summer internships (2015, 2016, and 2018) that she acquired as an Aspirations Grand Prize winner. Katherine attended the University of Minnesota, where she realized an interest in the medical device field. In May 2019, she graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Communications, Signal Processing, and Medical Devices.
We’re incredibly proud to share that Katherine currently works as a Systems Verification Engineer at Abbott’s Cardiac Arrhythmias and Heart Failure Electrophysiology Division in Saint Paul, MN 🎉
ABOUT MINNESOTA ASPIRATIONS IN COMPUTING
The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) Awards Program partners with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to inspire, empower, and honor young women of high school age for their computing-related achievements and interests. The program is supported by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence and numerous businesses and organizations. The powerful story of honoree accomplishments does not end at recognition ceremonies in April of each year, it’s just the beginning! Over 500 young women who have been honored since the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program inception in 2012-2013 continue to pursue life-changing education and career opportunities, becoming accomplished practitioners and leaders in a variety of Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.