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 Cherishma Perikala, the QA automation engineer for GoGuardian Teacher. Cherishma holds a Master’s in Software Engineering and Computing Management.  

What was your favorite subject in school (K-12)?

I actually had two favorite subjects back in school: Mathematics and Biology. Although many people say numbers, equations, computations, and algorithms are super confusing, I say it is all about understanding. Once you get it, math works magic. As much as I enjoyed numbers, I also enjoyed studying life and living organisms. I think it is fascinating to visually experience something that you learn about. Diagrams are the fun part.

Who is a teacher from your student days that made an impact on you, and why?

I’m blessed to say that I had a number of teachers who left a mark on my growth with their personality. If I have to name one, it will definitely be my math teacher from my schooling. She is very passionate, hardworking, and dedicated. She always encouraged us to dream big dreams and chase them no matter what. 

What drew you to become an expert in engineering?

Curiosity—seeing how much of an impact technology has in our day-to-day lives, I wanted to learn and dig more into it. When I first started, I presumed that coding was too difficult and I would fail at it. I wanted to overcome my fear, so I started off by building small things and reached to get a Master's degree in Software Engineering. Computers, from being mere strangers, soon became my best friend. 

What impact has your role had on the success of GoGuardian?

Being a QA Automation Engineer at GoGuardian comes with lots of responsibilities, quality being on the top of the list, followed by:

  • Mitigating risks and hardships by automating the testing workflow so the enterprise need not have to worry about the strict deadlines. 

  • Serving as a cost-effective strategy to overcome most of the issues related to product quality.

  • Creating a systematic and planned set of actions that guarantees the products conform to standards and requirements.  

What message do you have for young women who may be thinking about a career in EdTech?

I think that EdTech is a way to make an impact on a totally different scale. When you know your work, directly or indirectly, is making a difference in somebody’s life, you have something to be proud of. Also, the future of EdTech is very promising, and its market size has been expanding at great speed.

What’s the best way for young women to seek out mentors in science and technology?

If an individual is interested in technology, acknowledging it and speaking up is the key. In today's world, we have many platforms and network-building resources that support our interests. LinkedIn, Meetup, EventBrite, and Facebook are a few examples. Focus on and connect with people who fit with your goals and help you reach them faster. 

How do we foster the development of the next generation of women in science, engineering, and product? 

Enough knowledge and clarity. Girls at an early age should be provided with enough knowledge and clarity on the impact women are making in science fields. They should be given a chance to explore things and dive more deeply into the specialization they are interested in. With the help of the right mentorship and guidance, this can be achievable.

What does personalized education mean to you?

Personalized education means personal growth. It helps in creating a unique style of learning process for every individual that concentrates on their likes and dislikes or fields of interest. This can make a huge difference in an individual’s life. “One size fits all” is not true. 

To you, what’s the difference between learning and education?

Learning for me is a basic instinct processed by all individuals, starting from the time you are a baby. You learn something new each and every day. Education, on the other hand, is the process of imparting knowledge, values, skills, and attitudes, which can be beneficial to an individual. 

Is there a particular individual in history who has inspired you? 

As we know that a good teacher can ignite hope and create an imagination, I believe that starts at home. My mom is my greatest inspiration. She herself being a teacher always encouraged me to dream big, cross all hurdles, and work hard to achieve it. 

Keep checking back for more interviews in our Women in STEM series!