March is National Women’s Month, or Women’s History Month, in the United States. For the month of March, we are showcasing the incredible women of GoGuardian in our “Women in STEM” interview series. From engineers to product managers to researchers, these brilliant women share their journeys in education and science/technology, as well as advice to others who might follow a similar path.
Today’s interview is with Sophia Darvish, the QA engineer for GoGuardian Fleet and Parent app. Sophia graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and formerly provided tech support to GoGuardian users.
What was your favorite subject in school (K-12)?
I loved math! I really liked that there was almost always one correct answer only. Math seemed like a puzzle to me, and you could prove something or find an answer by having one piece of the puzzle and following the clues. A little nerdy, but I actually made my signature in calculus class – the S is an integral sign!
What drew you to become an expert in engineering?
I had a really great mentor, Miki, who introduced me to QA Engineering. I took on helping her to see another side to the products we were helping customers with in Tech Support. It turned out to be a great decision, and my mentor saw that interest and encouraged me to grow my skill set!
What’s the best way for young women to seek out mentors in science and technology?
I honestly think the best way to find mentors is to reach out. Many of the women I’ve worked with are also passionate about inspiring and helping women who want to be in tech. Asking around and talking to whoever you can about your ambitions is the best way to find someone who can guide you to your goals.
How do we foster the development of the next generation of women in science, engineering, and product?
Exposure! As kids, we always dream to do the jobs we think are the most fun or respected, like a doctor or astronaut. If we can talk to young girls and show that what we do is just as interesting or important, they’ll see that there are so many unexpected options out there for them in tech—and they can have fun while doing their jobs!
What does personalized education mean to you?
To me, personalized education means centering the learning process around the individual, rather than on “getting through” a list of topics. Most of this would involve customizing the method of teaching around how the individual can absorb the information, but I think a big part of it would be catering to the individual’s interests too. This could include certain topics that aren’t usually covered in course curriculum or focusing on creative projects rather than standardized tests. I think adding personalization to education is extremely important, especially in nurturing creative thinkers.
To you, what’s the difference between learning and education?
Learning is more internal and personal, whereas education is the formalized process. We’re constantly learning, and most of the time it’s not a process we’re explicitly aware of, especially after leaving school or university. I think education becomes the most useful when it can be shifted to line up with how we personally learn, rather than the other way around.
Is there a particular individual in history who has inspired you? If so, why?
I am most inspired when the one individual speaker becomes a movement of people supporting each other. It’s the turning point in the movies where the crazy leader turns to a group determined to make a change. Most recently, I was inspired by the movement across South America for women standing up against victim blaming and sexual violence. Seeing so many people set aside differences and join for one worthy cause always makes me feel hopeful for the future and what we can accomplish together.
Keep checking back for more interviews in our Women in STEM series!