Written by volunteer Alison Perch
Growing up, Kelsey Huse had no female role models in the tech industry. “When I was younger I had challenges believing that I could pursue careers that were typically ‘manly,’ so I did not even try. I did not believe the engineering/tech community culture was something I wanted to be a part of, because I did not think someone like me was welcome,” Kelsey says.
That changed when Kelsey took an Introduction to Information Systems class in business college.
“[My professor] presented tech in a ‘non-techie’ kind of way, a world where everyone was welcome. I thrived in this type of environment and loved my database and programming classes,” Kelsey explains.
Thanks to this professor’s encouragement, Kelsey switched her major to Information Systems and embarked on a career in Healthcare IT. Since graduating, she had worked in application support, software implementation, and software optimization for many different hospitals across the country. In her current job, she tests and troubleshoots new software for hospitals.
Now, Kelsey is inspiring the next generation of girls to get involved with technology. When she moved to Philadelphia in July 2016, Kelsey decided to volunteer with a tech education organization. She found TechGirlz in a Google search and immediately applied to become an instructor. Kelsey taught her first workshop in October 2016 and has attempted to teach at least once a month since then.
As a volunteer instructor, Kelsey is continually inspired by her students’ originality and fearlessness.
“Middle school girls are SO creative! When I taught my first class, I was so inspired by the girls and what they wanted to build. They were not shy about their ideas and their ability to think big. Being around the girls inspires me to take down some of the mental walls I have built up from becoming an adult. I am able to see the world through their eyes and dream bigger,” Kelsey says.
Kelsey explains that anyone can get involved with TechGirlz, even if they’re not a traditional “techie.”
“If you are passionate about education, that’s all it takes! I was surprised about the large variety of workshops — TechGirlz is not all about programming,” she explains.
She adds that volunteering as a teaching assistant (TA) is a great first step, especially if a volunteer is nervous about teaching. “It’s a short time commitment and you will learn a lot from watching someone else instruct. I guarantee you will have a lot of fun!” Kelsey says.
Kelsey has enjoyed getting to know other TechGirlz instructors and TAs, and she even codes with a fellow volunteer in her spare time. Outside of tech, Kelsey enjoys reading, running along the Schuylkill River Trail, trying new restaurants, and crossing items off her “Philly Bucket List.”
Kelsey’s career path in tech continues to evolve. She is currently studying Full-Stack Web Development at the Flatiron School and is about to graduate. “I am hoping to move into a Web Development job in the fall and experience what it’s like to work as a programmer and create products with a team,” Kelsey says. We wish Kelsey the best of luck in the next step of her tech journey!
To learn more about Kelsey, visit her website: kelseyhuse.com.