Ally Condie Author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. She is also the founder of the non-profit WriteOut Foundation, which runs writeoutcamp.org–a writing camp for teens that allows students to work with published authors, experience the outdoors, and enjoy other activities (plays, costume balls, rock climbing, and more). Ally lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar. Follow Ally on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s something Ally wishes she’d known as a girl: “I wish I had known that there were so many things out there–and that, if you work hard and get the education necessary, you can write your own career if you are willing to fail and try again. I knew that there were lots of great options, but I didn't know that I could invent my own. I'm forever grateful, however, for parents who told me how important it was to learn, and who supported my education.”
Amanda Smith Assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, Amanda also serves as Director of the Site-Specific Energy Systems Lab and Co-Director of the Intermountain Industrial Assessment Center. She is the advisor to the ASHRAE student chapter and was the ASHRAE Utah Chapter 2015 Educator of the Year, the Utah Engineers Council 2016 Educator of the Year, and the University of Utah Alta Sustainability Leadership teaching integration award. She moved to Utah 3 1/2 years ago with her silly dog and two rotten cats, and loves to snowboard, hike, and skydive. Find Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Here’s something Amanda wishes she’d known as a girl: “Your career is largely driven by how persistent you are, much more so than by how smart you are. If you enter a male-dominated field, you will encounter lots of sexism from males who don't even realize they are being sexist. You can be much more than you can even dream of as a pre-teen.”
Here’s Amanda’s advice to girls interested in engineering: “Do it! Don't ask anyone for permission for what you want, but don't be scared to ask for help either.”
Amber Alvarez ED game designer and freelance illustrator based in Provo, Amber specializes in classically rendered animals, mixed media oceanography and bright and sketchy kidlit painting, all rooted in character design. Her clients include The Girl Scouts of America, Starz Entertainment and Victoria's Secret, with projects ranging from advertising to surface design and product development. Originally from Hawaii, Amber received a BFA in film from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York in 2006. Amber says she was lucky to get her start right out of the gate at Sesame Street, then moving on to PBS Kids, Scholastic and MTV. Amber eventually transitioned to game design, working at equally prestigious companies. She was most recently employed as lead game designer at BrainP0P, which remains seated at the top of the ios app store. Amber was interviewed in 2015 for a children’s literature blog here. Find samples of Amber’s work on her blog.
Here’s what she wishes she’d known when she was younger: “When I was younger I feel like I was overly lectured by professors on the dangers of grit in your paint and blooms left on the page. It turns out I love blooms on a page. I love grit in my paint. It’s so fun being a grown-up.”
Here’s Amber’s advice to girls interested in illustration and design: “One of the exercises I try to do at least one or two times a week involves pulling out some paper I’ve squiggled on in the dark. It’s a mess of marbled lines. I have tons of these. I draw directly on top of them. I print out a stack and set a timer for an hour. Then I sit and squint at them until I see something worth drawing. This activity was my favorite as a kid. I always saw mermaids in sidewalk cracks. When I added this exercise in to my weekly routine I saw an uptick in the playfulness of my drawings.”
Ann Dee Ellis Author of This is What I Did, Everything is Fine, and The End or Something Like That. This is What I Did received three starred reviews and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an IRA honor book, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction pick. Ann Dee lives in Utah with her husband and five children. Ann Dee also started a writing project called the 8 Minute Memoir. It goes like this: every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Ann Dee posts a writing prompt. The topics are sometimes ridiculous, sometimes abstract, sometimes fun, sometimes sad. Those who are interested, set a timer and write on that day’s prompt for eight minutes.
Here’s Ann Dee’s advice for tackling the 8 Minute Memoir: “When you’re ready and you have some time to yourself, set a timer (really, do this step. It’s so important) for eight minutes, get out your computer, your notebook, your ipad, your journal, and for eight minutes, you write. No stopping, no thinking too hard, no rewriting. Then stop when the eight minutes are up. Of course you can keep going if you would like, but you should never feel like you have to. You can leave a sentence unfinished, a thought hanging, a topic unexplored. The idea is to make writing about life more manageable. It shouldn’t be overwhelming. It shouldn’t be hard. It shouldn’t be something to do only when we’re old. And it shouldn’t be left to anyone but ourselves. Eight minutes a day, a few times a week, adds up. Also, if you allow yourself to really try it, to write whatever comes to your head without worrying about what it is, or who might read it, or what it says about you, you’ll start to surprise yourself.”
Find more about Ann Dee on her website (her bio is particularly funny) and follow her on Instagram, where you can also find all the prompts for her 8 Minute Memoirs.
Carrie Levitt-Bussianis A paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Utah, Carrie manages over 50,000 paleontological specimens, including vertebrate, invertebrate and paleobotanical fossils. She received her Masters of Science from the University of Utah in 2013. Her expertise is in ceratopsian limb bone histology. She studies how animals like triceratops grew, and what their metabolism was like when they were alive.
Here’s something Carrie wishes she’d known as a girl: “I wish I had known the abundance of science related jobs out there. Many people do not think of digging up dinosaur bones as "science." I feel like many people feel that science is hard and has to do with chemistry. It is not as hard as one thinks. AND it is so much fun!”
Here’s her advice to girls interested in paleontology: “Pay attention to the science classes in middle school and high school. Also volunteering (wherever, at a museum, a zoo, etc) is a good way to set you apart from other college applicants. If you get a chance to do a research project in high school or college, do it. Go to conferences. That also gives you a chance to meet other folks interested in what you are interested in as well as potential advisors or mentors.”
Erin Davis A 21-year-old pilot who loves the outdoors and everything that can be considered an adventure, Erin's two favorite things are airplanes and the ocean, but mainly sharks! She recently earned her commercial pilot license and is extremely excited for this new adventure. Some day Erin hopes to co-own a charter flight company that will help doctors reach their patients, connect lawyers with their clients, and anyone who needs a special medical flight get to the hospital of their choosing. Erin says that the fun part about creating a charter flight company is that she will also get to fly people to cool vacation spots! Follow Erin’s aviator page on Facebook.
Here’s one thing Erin wishes she’d known as a girl: “I wish that I had known about all sorts of types of careers. I wish I would've been able to spend more time talking to people in different career fields and job shadowing them (not just one day in the seventh grade).” Here’s her advice to girls interested in flying planes: “It's never too early to start. There is no age limit for taking flight lessons. Also, read a lot of books on your favorite subject. Right now is the perfect time to become a pilot. There are lots of scholarships and tons of people willing to help get you started. Find someone that you look up to and ask them to be your mentor. And lastly, don't forget to have fun! Many people wish they could have the superpower of flying, you can make it a reality!”
Florence Hawkinson Florence Hawkinson is an architect with Scholz Architects. When talking about her journey towards architecture, Florence says, “When I was a fourth-grader I determined to one day become an architect. That dream eventually took me to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where I earned a BS in Architectural Studies. I worked in architecture for several years, took a 20-year break to raise my children, then returned to the field, earning my Architect License in 2015.” Find Florence on her blog and on LinkedIn.
Here’s one thing Florence wishes she’d known as a girl: “My only wish is that I could have actually met and conversed with an architect when I was younger. I think it would have made it a little more real for me somehow.”
Here’s her advice to aspiring architects: “Understand that, for most architects, design is a only small part of being an architect. Architects generally spend a great deal of time working with others to help their vision become a reality.”
Geidy Achecar An attorney at Fillmore Spencer in Provo, Geidy practices immigration law, family law, and personal injury. Geidy is a Dominican immigrant and grew up in Bronx, New York. She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's in English in 2003, and after years of being a stay-at-home mom and teaching middle school in Florida, Geidy finally realized her dream of attending law school. She graduated from BYU law school almost 3 years ago. Geidy has two amazing kids ages 13 and 9.
Here’s what Geidy wishes she’d known as a girl: “Focus on being a good student---not only for good grades--but because the habits you create early on will either serve you or hinder your progress in any career you choose. It's all about good work habits and endurance. Find mentors: talk to people in the professions you're interested in. Many are willing to help you along and connect you with the right resources Be proactive, seek them out, and ask for what you need. Know yourself. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. You can do anything with this information. Your strengths can help guide and focus you--and your weaknesses, if you know them, can be overcome. You really can do ANYTHING!”
Here’s Geidy’s advice to girls who want to become lawyers: “Be a good student in high school and study what you love in college. The most important thing is to shine in your chosen major. Read as much as you can--good readers make good writers. Good readers and writers make excellent lawyers. When the time comes, take the LSAT very seriously--treat studying for it like a part-time job. Be well rounded in law school. Once you make it that far, relationships and your ability to listen and care for people will matter more than your grades in the long run.”
Jani Radebaugh A professor of planetary sciences at Brigham Young University, Jani specializes in the origins and geologic histories of planetary landscapes from spacecraft images and Earth analogue field studies. Her current investigations include giant sand dunes, mountains, volcanoes, rivers and lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, and actively erupting volcanoes and mountains on Jupiter’s moon Io. Her planetary studies have taken her to the Sahara, Namibia, Arabia, Iran, the Ethiopian Afar Rift, Australia, the Argentine Altiplano, Hawaii and the southwestern US. She is a regular participant in the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program, which returns samples from around the solar system including the Moon and Mars. Jani is a science contributor for the Discovery Channel’s “How the Universe Works,” has given a TEDx talk on exploration, and is a speaker at the Spacefest Apollo astronaut convention. Each year she also talks about her adventures in science with the Bonneville Elementary sixth grade.
Kelsie Moore A photographer and filmmaker based in Salt Lake City, Kelsie is a dual citizen of Australia and the U.S and came to Utah to pursue her education and opportunities in the film industry. Currently Kelsie shoots and edits for a documentary film company called The Good Line. As a documentary filmmaker she loves to focus on issues that affect females, minority communities and anyone who does not have a voice or platform to share their story. Find Kelsie at kelsmoore.com.
Here’s something Kelsie wishes she’d known as a girl: “I wish that I had known that it is very possible to make your way as an artist. While it's not always easy, there are so many creative outlets (especially in film, while not just making hollywood blockbusters) that make it possible for me to be a full-time filmmaker.”
Her advice to girls interested in photography: “Just do it. Even if you're scared of not knowing the process or technology, just get your hands dirty and believe you can do it, cause you can. / / The other thing I would say is that it would be best to try and be as kind and compassionate as you possibly can. Never assume you know everything or that what works for you, works for others. Be open to different possibilities and people.”
Kristy Sevy Kristy Sevy is FUZE Interactive’s co-founder and CEO. FUZE Interactive is an educational toy company based in Utah. Their debut device is the Zubi Flyer, the first hackable frisbee that teaches children how to code as they play. Kristy created FUZE Interactive to help fill a need for advanced, responsive STEM toys that were both intuitive and fun. It all started with a toy search! When Kristy couldn’t find anything that met her daughter’s curiosity, so she and her brother invented their own! Learn more about FUZE Interactive here. Read an interview with Kristy here.
Kristy has three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “1. I’m a regular mom. I don’t have a background in tech, and I don’t have a background in business. Don’t let your lack of competence stop you from pursuing your passions. You can still have confidence, and work hard to develop the competence needed. 2. Your team is everything. 3. Startup life is a beast. The lows are super low, and the highs are super high – there is no buffer. Try to keep yourself grounded. For me, my family keeps me grounded. As well, I choose to have an optimistic outlook. I think we too often live in a bilateral world: good/bad, success/failure, rich/poor, happy/sad. Instead I try to look at all my successes AND my failures as one catalyst for progression.”
Rose Ledezma Animator and illustrator for video games and books, Rose has worked at Electronic Arts and Wildworks in Salt Lake making games like Risk:Factions and the popular Animal Jam. She and her family live in Davis County with their funny dog.
Here’s something Rose wishes she’d known as a girl: “I wish I'd known more of the many different kinds of artistic jobs in the animation industry. Lighting, texturing, animating in the computer as well as designing on paper. Technology was the biggest part behind those cool 3D movies. MATH. I wish I'd known that, even as a mostly 2D artist, I'd still use code on a regular basis for animation.” Her advice to girls interested in animation: “Getting a job in the art industry is tough, but possible. Getting a job at Pixar is tough, but possible. You need to draw till your hands fall off, but if that's all you want to do anyway... do it! And I mean, DO IT. Draw from life. Draw things you love. Draw all the time. Push yourself to learn something new everyday. Draw big on newsprint. Use your elbow! Give it a whirl! College is fantastic, but it is really only a tool. A networking tool and a learning tool. Although I highly encourage it, college will NOT guarantee you a job. Your self-motivation is the real deal. Succeeding in animation is a test of long years worth of work. Plan on years of very self-motivated work to go all the way.”
Shelly Savage A family medicine doctor in Provo, Utah, Shelly is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Utah Valley Hospital and Orem Community Hospital. She received her medical degree from University of Utah School of Medicine and has been in practice for over a decade. Shelley is well-reviewed and receives excellent comments online, with patients complimenting her skill as a physician as well as her impeccable bedside manner. Shelley’s professional profile can be found online at the Intermountain Healthcare website. You can also learn more about family medicine here.
Trisha Zemp Trisha animates her own stop-motion videos, mostly for social media. She is a lover of popsicles, peanut butter, gameboy games, and good books. She enjoys delighting the world with fun and engaging videos. Find examples of Trisha’s work on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram or get inspired by her pins on Pinterest.
Here’s what she wishes she’d known as a girl: “That anything is possible! You can make a career doing anything!!”
Here’s her advice for aspiring stop-motion animators: “If you love it, do it! Just start! You don't need to wait on buying the right equipment. You don't need to wait until you have taken classes. So much of stop motion is trial and error! The sooner you start trying and making mistakes, the faster you will start learning!”
Yunnie Kim Yunniegraduated from Brigham Young University in August 2016. She majored in English Language and minored in Korean. Yunnie currently works as a front-end developer for EKR (Eli Kirk Riser), an award-winning advertising company based in Provo, Utah with clients such as BYU, Warner Brothers, and Google. Yunnie is always learning more about web design through her study of HTML, CSS, and PHP. Yunnie also loves photography. Learn more about front-end web developing here.