Girl Geek X Volunteers Share Career Advice With Oakland High School Students

November 12, 2021

Girl Geek X’s new partnership with Oakland Public Education Fund in adopting Coliseum College Prep Academy provides valuable experiences for the Girl Geek X volunteers to engage with the local school community.

On Friday, November 12, 2021, Girl Geek X community members volunteered to share career advice with 11th and 12th graders at CCPA in East Oakland, California.

Amazon Web Services Partnerships Developer Christina Zigliotto, Microsoft Senior Engineer Sneha Natekar, Girl Geek X Founder Angie Chang, Planet Labs Senior Systems Engineer Lisa Kristeena Johnson, and Afresh Director of Finance Cynthia Carpio spoke onstage about their careers and advice. Here are the top 3 tips:

#1 – Keep showing up.

Christina kicked things off by thanking the audience for showing up, and highlighted that showing up is an excellent first step. If you keep showing up and learning, you will be more prepared to receive fortuitous opportunities – with hard work and luck.

The Amazon and Microsoft employees nodded in agreement to Lisa’s advice to join a startup early in your career. Lisa talked about startups as a good place to gain work experience, then getting another job at a big tech company when you have more work experience on your resume.

Working at a big company may not be your first, second, third, or fourth job after college. Be prepared to work at different jobs in different industries and roles before you land at a brand-name company or distinguished role. Christina began her career in retail, and Cynthia in hospitality, before joining tech companies in non-technical roles.

#2 – Make connections!

Panelists spoke about the importance of making connections, from being an amiable colleague or schoolmate, to connecting with others on LinkedIn or via email.

Christina reminded students that their perspectives and stories are important and worth sharing. She encouraged students to come up to speakers after the panel to share or ask questions.

For the shy types, Sneha recommended Toastmasters for practicing speaking up.

#3 – Ask questions.

Lisa talked about the importance of people-skills in engineering satellites, and Cynthia spoke about getting over the fear of asking stupid questions – and Googling things you don’t understand.

CCPA Director of College Advising Shannon LeCompte moderated the panel for the 11th and 12th graders in the CCPA auditorium.

Special thank you to the 11th and 12th graders at CCPA for asking such amazing questions on the mic and offstage.

Thank you to Shelly Lopez at Oakland Public Education Fund for taking photos!

This partnership is facilitated by Oakland Public Education Fund, a non-profit connecting groups with schools to make a positive impact on school culture and student achievement through relevant and meaningful volunteer projects.

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