Student Story

Eliana Lopez '21 Matches with Award-Winning Boston Tech Start-Up

Why did you decide to come to Simmons?

I would say the unique combination of Simmons being a women-centered institution and being located in an urban area like Boston is the main reason I decided to attend. I enjoy the tight-knit community that Simmons has to offer between students and professors as well.

Why did you pursue a degree in mathematics with minors in computer science and economics?

Raspberry Pi car built by Eliana Lopez
Eliana's Raspberry Pi car.

I originally came to Simmons to study economics. However, I decided to take an academic break from Simmons to work on personal projects. During my break, I modified an RC car with a Raspberry Pi and did some self-learning for my own enrichment. After my break, I decided that I would like to focus on a more technical field of study and decided to pursue mathematics as a major and economics and computer science as minors.

After creating my Raspberry Pi car, I noticed that there’s a pay-to-play barrier for these types of projects. So during my leisure time, my goal is to explore projects relating to Raspberry Pi and Arduino and find efficient tools and parts to lower the cost barrier to participate in these projects by creating tutorials.

Tell us about the process of getting the apprenticeship with Hack.Diversity.

Hack.Diversity is a program that helps underrepresented talent in tech advance into the Boston innovation economy. I saw a post on my LinkedIn feed about the Hack.Diversity Fellowship and open applications for the 2021 Cohort. While reading the post, it seemed like a program that fit me perfectly, and I decided to apply within their Early Decision round. The application process includes the first general screening and a coding assessment, followed by an interview.

Progress with my course work at Simmons went hand in hand with the de.Hackathon work within the Fellowship.

What were your responsibilities?

I had a handful of responsibilities in the program that were designed to help me grow as a fellow and get started in my tech career. Some include, but are not limited to, attending Zoom workshops, resume reviews, host company researching, creating professional profiles, and working on a team technical project with a group of fellows called “de.Hackathon.”

Looking back at my original application, I have seen a lot of growth in my technical skills. Progress with my course work at Simmons went hand in hand with the de.Hackathon work within the Fellowship.

What did you learn from this experience?

Being a part of this Fellowship has taught me a lot, and I have grown so much technically from working within a team setting. Learning things like the importance of version control with Git has made me better prepared to start my career in technology.

I would also say that Hack.Diversity has shown me the importance of being a part of a community. This was very apparent during our internship interviews when a few fellows and I went through technical interview questions and learned together.

What company did you match with?

Owl Labs swag sent to Eliana

I am excited to announce that my company match is Owl Labs, a Boston-based start-up that creates collaborative technology to empower remote workers. My position with Owl Labs will be as a full-time Software Engineering Intern! Starting June 7th, I will be improving the software for the “Meeting Owl,” one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020!

Do you have a favorite Simmons memory?

My favorite Simmons memory was attending my first ever hackathon, which Simmons hosted! I was initially planning not to participate in the hackathon, but my first-year college roommate invited me with great enthusiasm, which convinced me to attend as a result. I ended up teaming up with a group of friends, and in the end, we won Best Web Hack! The aftermath of the event made me into an avid hackathon attendee, where I would try to attend other hackathons if possible. One important lesson I also learned is to try anything once with an open heart and with enthusiasm.

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