"I wish I had something like this [TLCoding Lab] when I was in high school." tweeted Lisa Seacat Deluca, IBM's Master Inventor and MIT's Top Innovator Under 35! TLCoding Lab kicked off our new school year with a Skype Chat with Deluca. "Lisa was incredibly generous with our students considering she made time to share with our coding students only days before the birth of twin daughters, which happen to be her second set of twins." said Craig Taylor, Head Mentor of TLCoding Lab. From the outset of our chat, our students understood DeLuca is not only, a rock star software engineer, a super role model for women in engineering, and author of the children's book, A Robot Story, but would also soon be a working mother of 4 children under 3 years of age. An extraordinary example of a working mother with a dynamic career and family life who takes time out to mentor young girls and boys interested in programming. Deluca taught our students volumes with her generous mentorship and is an incredibly accomplished software engineering and creative innovator--and an INSPIRATION to our students, especially our female students.
Deluca shared that she discover technology in high school through learning html. Then, jumped into programming by heading off to Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science in 2001. She shared that it was intimidating, and really hard as she was not the typical female student while also being a student athlete. Lisa was warned that it would be impossible to participate in a varsity basket ball and volleyball, traveling across the country for games, while also pursuing a degree in computer science from one of the top undergrad programs in the world. "The first two years were brutal and didn't really get great grades....but I stuck with it..." shared DeLuca.
DeLuca found mostly male mentorship from her college professors and colleagues at internships as the weren't many females. Internships-her first at IBM- helped her apply what she learned in the classroom, and provided opportunities to deepen her love programing. She suggested that our students continue with java. "It was addicting to brainstorm about cutting edge technologies, and to pitch ideas to the company’s patent review boards." said DeLuca. It is no doubt that Deluca holds the record for the most patents with 397 in the history of IBM.
Our chat ended with a Q & A with a handful of questions for DeLuca that reflected the range of knowledge of our beginner to more advanced students. She also offered for our students to reach out to her with questions as they grow as programmers. The take-away for our students is that do what you love, take risks, and that computer science is a wonderful career path for all students affording lifestyle flexibility and a plethora of opportunities in many field--especially for women. Now that she is a working mother, she really appreciates the flexible work schedules and ability to work at home. DeLuca is proud of her accomplishments as an engineer and woman, and it is clear that she loves what she does, and finds mentoring young girls and boys even more rewarding . TLCoding Lab thanks our brilliant role model, Lisa Seacat DeLuca for inspiring lessons in coding, generosity and mentorship.