Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Siles, A Visionary Board Member

IMG_3185Take a moment to learn about our motivating and passionate Vice President who serves as an advocate for STEM education and a role model for girls that aspire to be a part of the tech industry.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself – what is your educational background? what do you like to do on your free time? 

A: Born and raised in Cochabamba Bolivia, my parents migrated to America when I was 15 and moved to Northern VA. I pursued a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University and in my years at GMU discovered a passion for community service through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineer (SHPE). Post college I got a software engineering offer from IBM Corporation at the Austin TX site. I have been in Austin for the past 8 years and currently serve as a Project Manager for IBM Cloud Division. Currently I serve as the Vice-President for Latinitas Inc. and on the board of SHPE Austin Professional and LaunchPad the center.

Q: What is your current job position? Describe a few of your job responsibilities.

A: I have held various job roles at IBM from a software developer to currently a project manager for IBM Cloud. Earlier this year I was in charge of the open source projects for the cloud platform.  For the past couple of weeks I have been managing the security project for IBM Public Cloud.  As a project manager I need to ensure that our development projects are on track by discussing daily progress daily from developers.

Q: How long have you been a board member for Latinitas and what motivated you to do so?

A: I have been a board member for the past 1.5 years and I was motivated to be a member after speaking with Laura Donelly. Laura has so much passion for this organization and her passion is contagious to everyone around. Laura told me about their inaugural Code Chica conference, I loved the idea of introducing young girls to technology and coding. Encouraging youth to go in STEM fields is my personal passion and I admire this organization for everything they do. Serving this organization has been a great experience so far and I am very excited about the work and ideas we have this year.

Q: What advice would you give to young Latina girls who aspire to be a part of the technology industry?

A: In the next couple of years there will be an influx in the job market for the technology industry. There will be close to 10,000 jobs available for technology careers in the Austin area. Unfortunately the rate of job needs does not equal the rate of graduating women in technology, let alone Latinas.  As a female Latina engineer, pursuing an engineering or technology degree was the best decision I ever made. The technology you get to work with is truly amazing, you are changing people’s life through technology. We need to increase the percentage of Latina’s in technology from single digits to double digits. If our young latinitas want to work on cutting edge technology and impacting lives through technology they should aspire to get into the technology industry.

Speak Your Mind