This week’s #WCWinSTEM, Brianna McCullough, is a technologist writer and girl-boss with a passion for diversity and inclusion in STEM!
As compiled by Léolène Carrington, Ph.D.
Originally from Detroit, MI, Brianna McCullough is all about empowering women and is excited to share her story with us. We’re delighted to feature her as this week’s #WCWinSTEM!
Responses may be edited for content and brevity.
Where/when did you go to school?
B.S in interdisciplinary studies with a specialization in health technology at Michigan State University
What do you do right now?
I am a Technical Integration Architect (Information Technology) for 3M in Saint Paul, MN. Currently, I am migrating an old IT system architecture into a more modern one for one our divisions. This project migration includes designing software that better meets the needs of the division, as well as training users on how to use the new software. Some of the other projects I work on include designing and implementing small to large scale integration solutions and adopting various technologies such as XML, J2EE and Java. I also help manage databases and the processes necessary to receive the new data.
What made you choose your STEM discipline in the first place?
When I originally went into STEM, I wanted to do research simply because I like to KNOW. I wanted to be in a career that allowed me to experiment as well as innovate. I did an internship at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on cyber-knife radiation and the way it affects patients with gastrointestinal cancer and that’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in tech.
What’s one piece of advice you wish you had when you started your STEM journey?
Have a solid mentor! Mentors can tell you and show you things that other people won’t and don’t have the time to do.
“When I think of a mentor I think of a person who truly has my best interest at heart.”
It doesn’t have to be a mentor in your field but it should be someone who you look up to professionally.
Do you have any woman of color in STEM sheros? Who and why?
I would have to say Kimberly Bryant, the CEO and Founder of Black Girls Code. I look up to her a lot because she saw a problem in our community and she built a solution to aid in fixing it. We see so many people talk about diversity and inclusion in technology but not enough people acting on it, by pulling in our young women of color and encouraging them in this field. Black women only make up 2% of the space and she is one woman who is working to change that.
What else are you passionate about?
I am passionate about reading and writing and I contribute to a couple of websites in my down time. I am also a writer for Medium and was featured in their top 10% of writers last year. I enjoy writing about education, the needs of women and people of color in technology, as well as urban culture. I usually set aside one hour a day to read and write, usually before I start my work.
Why do you think it’s important to highlight women of color in STEM?
I think it is important to shed light on women in STEM because there are not too many of us here, especially in technology.
“It’s important to show our young girls that yes, you CAN do hard things too and we are here to encourage you on this journey.”
So often we see white males as the poster children of STEM but we have to work hard to expand that narrative.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
In February, I had the honor of doing a Google Devfest speech on diversity and inclusion and the small steps that we can take to create a big change.
Are there institutions, groups or organizations you would like to give a shoutout to?
I am the events and programs manager of Graveti MN, which is a group focused on diversity in technology in the twin cities (Minneapolis, MN). We welcome all women and people of color into our organizations to talk and cultivate relationships with one another. We do a program once a month highlighting people of color in technology.
Thank you, Brianna, for your dedication to diversify STEM!
*All images courtesy of Brianna McCullough.
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