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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"Understand the "hows" and "whys" to my "whats."

Alex Johnson '19 | Software Engineering

Major | IDEAS: Computer Science Engineering and Psychology

Minor | Studio Art

Hometown | Brooklyn, NY

Had you asked me my first year of college if I ever thought I'd be a computer science and psychology major with a minor in fine arts and applied mathematics, I probably would've laughed so hard. However, through my time at Lehigh and especially during my time in San Francisco with LSV, I've begun to discover how my seemingly unrelated passions actually intertwine and influence my achievements and who I've become.

Today we got the amazing opportunity to spend the day at the LehighatNasdaqCenter with Ann Lewnes and Sandy Stellings. We focused on the topic of "unresume" - taking the "what's" that we have achieved and focusing on the "how's" and "whys" of the achievement. Sandy shared her insightful journey from a mechanical engineering major to the managing director at Alaska Airlines. She explained "that fraud thing" we all have going on in the first couple months of any new job where the moments where she really learned the whys and hows. She explained how those were the moments where she pulled on previous seemingly unrelated assets she possessed, like playing soccer, and how she could apply the skills she learned to her new position. Ann then brought us on her journey from a political science and journalism major to becoming the CMO at Adobe. She explained how important it was to always advocate for yourself and shared a pivotal personal antidote in which she first advocated for herself and has never looked back.

The stories that these two inspirational women shared with us, along with the genuine and candied responses to our questions, helped me look at my life to understand the "hows" and "whys" to my "whats." For example, the first connection between art and computer science most people make is graphic design. However, for me, my passion for art and the classes I've taken so far at Lehigh have given me a new perspective on the way I solve problems in my computer science classes and in my personal life. Art has shown me that there's never one right way to come to a solution to a design problem, just as there's never one right way to write a code. Today really gave me the opportunity to think about my life and make connections that I probably would've never thought about before and has given me the tools to continue to make these connections to further myself both professionally and personally.

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