Kelsey Hrubes - Geek Girl Rising
Kelsey Hrubes

Kelsey Hrubes

Computer Science Major

Iowa State 2017

” Advice to my younger self: Pay a little more attention in high school math. I always got C’s and had to re-learn everything in college to get A’s.”

Kelsey Hrubes is a computer science major at Iowa State University and founder of the non-profit Iowa Girls Code, which teaches high school girls how to build apps and websites by pairing them with mentors from local tech companies. The organization recently held an event, the Iowa Girls Code Spring Summit, where over 35 girls from across the state game together for a day of technical workshops (on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and MATLAB) and project presentations. Kelsey is scheduled to graduate in December 2017 and will be working as a software engineering intern at Microsoft this summer.

Years in industry?
4. I’ve worked summer internships in the tech world since the start of college.

Who or what inspired your career in tech?
I sort of accidentally fell into it. I signed up for Computer Science as my major with little idea of what that meant, and learned I actually enjoy it.

3 pieces of advice to get our daughters to code or involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math)?
1. Sign your daughter up for technical activities (like coding camps and after-school programs) with a female friend. It will encourage her to keep at it.
2. Don’t push her too hard about getting into STEM, or she may feel it’s being forced on her and lose interest.
3. If you work at a tech company or know somebody working in the STEM world, look into finding your daughter a mentor.

Your best productivity “hack”? 
It’s not really a “hack”, but getting up early is a big part of how I’m able to be productive. I have a huge disklike of working at night. Having my work done and time to relax by the time the sun is down is a perfect way to de-stress and keep going.

Your greatest career or academic challenge?
Beginning as a Computer Science major with no experience was the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I was scared I wouldn’t pass my classes, and as a result put a ridiculous amount of effort into them. This allowed me to ace my first few semesters of “weed out” classes and get the grades and experience to get software internships.

Your biggest career success to date?
Founding Iowa Girls Code, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching high school girls in Iowa how to build apps and websites by pairing them with mentors from local tech companies.

What are the top 3 pieces of advice for women starting out in the tech industry?
1. Don’t be shy.
2. Don’t get hung up on only working at a “big name” tech company like Google or Facebook.
3. Don’t let your entire identity revolve around tech. Have other hobbies and friends unrelated to it.

If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?
Pay a little more attention in high school math. I always got C’s and had to re-learn everything in college to get A’s.

What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
I love traveling, running, working out, drinking coffee and going out with my friends.

Flats, heels or kicks?
I’d like to wear heels more, but I’m 5’11 and end up towering over people.

What’s next for you?
This summer I’ll be working as a software engineering intern at Microsoft in Seattle. Next December (2017), I’ll graduate from Iowa State with a degree in CS.

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