MAY 7, 2021 — Anna Arroyo is an inspiring Latina looking to build up her community by closing the gender gap in software engineering. The 2021 computer science graduate next has her sights set on her new job with Twitter.
Born and raised in Austin, Anna’s first interactions with computer science were influenced by family — her father who works in the information systems field, her aunt who majored in computer science and works for IBM, and her uncle who is a computer engineer. In high school, she enrolled in an AP computer science course which ultimately led to the beginning of her educational career at UTSA.
“The reason I love computer science so much is because of how much problem-solving it requires,” Anna said. “Computer science can be used to solve so many problems in the world today and that is very exciting to me.”
While women make up almost half of the workforce, only one of four people in tech fields are women according to the National Center for Women in Technology. This is a downward trend from the early 1990s when women comprised about one-third of all people employed in the tech sector. Those statistics drive Anna’s passion to enter the industry, and her success at UTSA paved the way.
As soon as she stepped foot on campus four years ago for her freshman year, the Honors College student said she got involved. She participated in school events, joined student organizations, started building relationships and taking on leadership roles. Joining the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at UTSA was a turning point. She participated in the university hackathon, reaching the semifinals as a freshman. She created an Android app to improve ACM’s communications by developing a source of information such as a calendar of meetings, sign-ins and more.
Anna grew within the ranks to junior officer and eventually to vice president of ACM-W at UTSA, a subgroup that tailors its activities and meetings toward women in computer science. She then served as vice president for the ACM at UTSA and executive director of RowdyHacks. In her final year at UTSA, she served as an advisor and mentor to the current vice president and executive director of RowdyHacks.
Her journey did not stop there. In 2019, she joined Develop-HER, a two-day professional development program for women in computer science at Twitter’s San Francisco office. This eventually paved the way for her to secure an internship with the social media company in the fall of 2020.
Beyond Twitter, some of her most impressive accomplishments have been with UTSA’s tech community. She helped organize the first virtual RowdyHacks, which registered over 300 students worldwide. Moreover, she raised more than $40,000 in sponsorships with the help of the UTSA Career Center, the UTSA Department of Computer Science, and Jianwei Niu, interim academic director of the UTSA School of Data Science, associate dean of the UTSA University College and faculty advisor to ACM-W.
“I owe ACM everything because they have given me my best friends, community and support group,” Anna said. “It made my college experience so great and is definitely a huge part of who I am that contributed to my success in college.”
Following her internship with Twitter, Anna secured a full-time position with the social media giant, as a software engineer with the Media Foundation Client Team in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work will help accelerate and drive the media-related features that get rolled out to Twitter's users.
“It genuinely feels great working for a company that shares the same passion I have to create a more diverse workforce in tech,” she said.
Anna hopes to one day earn her teaching credentials so she can teach the discipline to children. She would like to become an advocate and spread her knowledge of computer science to future generations.
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