Lottie Dowson '09, '05 LS returned to campus in early May to speak to eighth-graders about her experience in the computer science field and what it means to work in "tech."
Dowson is a software developer at Oracle, helping to provide support for backup and recovery of the database in case of user error or hardware failure. She started at the company five years ago after earning her master's degree in computer science from Stanford University, where she also attended as an undergraduate.
Addressing Susan Kendall's technology class, she encouraged students to take charge of their own learning, to research, to write, to collaborate, to create, and to build upon the skills they have learned while at Catalina. She emphasized that there is a wide array of opportunities in tech, from more analytical, "traditional" jobs to creative design. Skills they develop now, such as being curious and independent, will help them thrive in whatever area they choose.
"One of the best skills I have developed is seeking out answers on my own and pursuing avenues of interest, regardless of whether I feel 'qualified,'" she said via email. "In Sue's technology course, she really fosters this and it should be celebrated and cherished."
She also told the students to relish different perspectives. She said she values the peer review process in software development. "We all approach problems in unique ways, and hearing others' processes can make us better and more efficient in the future."
Finally, she discussed the need for more women to study computer science. A reluctant public speaker, she said it was important for her to overcome her fears to talk about her journey in tech, especially if it encourages girls to follow in her footsteps. "One girl came up afterwards and thanked me for speaking about a traditionally male field, and it brought me so much joy."