Serving as a representation of a successful young woman and IT professional, allows me to inspire the young women in my community to face obstacles as opportunities and seize the IT career that awaits them, if they so choose.
Meet Shannon Burt, Assistant Technical Instructor, NPower Maryland
Presented in partnership with Citi Foundation for 40 by 22
#wearebaltimore #40by22 #NPowerTheFuture #Pathways2Progress #WomenInTech #WITWednesday #WOCintech
From Student to Instructor:
As a true creative at heart, Shannon was unaware of the creative/artistic possibilities within IT and assumed she would have to sacrifice her creativity to have a fulfilling tech career. Once she discovered NPower, that changed. She realized that through NPower she would have the opportunity to develop a career that satisfied her creative spirit, helped achieve personal goals, and provided financial stability.
After excelling in the Tech Fundamentals program, she decided to use her technical skills to help others launch their tech careers. Even in her short time as a technical assistant instructor, she has made a significant impact on the students she serves, as well as, within the Baltimore community.
Panelist at Urban Alliance Career Day:
Shannon recently had the opportunity to be a part of a career day panel with Urban Alliance, a local nonprofit. High school seniors in the program were invited to explore their options of higher education and alternative career routes. With representation from various professional positions including engineers, entrepreneurs, and technical educators, the youth engaged with questions and gained insights about possible career paths. The panel consisted mainly of professional women of color and with almost half having STEM backgrounds.
“Serving on the Urban Alliance Career Day panel was an honor. Having the opportunity to connect and converse with such focused and determined young people, was a refreshing and energizing experience. In observing the crowd of young adults, and the panel of professionals, it was such an inspiration to see a plethora of women from a number of different backgrounds thriving in STEM professions. It is empowering to see both young women at NPower Maryland and at the Urban Alliance claim their seat at the table, as they make their way toward becoming women in tech.”
40 by 22 Ambassador:
As a woman of color in tech, Shannon shares her thoughts on the 40 by 22 initiative and the importance of having representation of women of color in tech to encourage more young women that this is possible.
Why do you think it’s important to have more female instructors in the tech industry?
“My thoughts are why don’t we? Time brings evolution and it is evident through our growing access of innovative technology. The evolution of a diverse IT workforce should mirror that growth.
Diverse instructors with differing backgrounds foster a healthy diversity of thought, from which a plethora of solutions and innovations can emerge.
It is important to have women instructors, for the same reason I believe it is important to have instructors of different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and viewpoints – because, it is important for leaders within communities to reflect the communities they serve.
Serving as a representation of a successful young woman and IT professional, allows me to inspire the young women in my community to face obstacles as opportunities and seize the IT career that awaits them, if they so choose.”
What kind of advice would you give to young women of color seeking to start a career in tech?
“My advice would be to embrace your differences and utilize your life experiences to benefit your career goals. If you are self-conscious due to your height, utilize your height to establish a presence of leadership and confidence in the workplace; or if you are a bilingual woman utilize your cultural and/or academic background to negotiate a higher salary with an international organization.
It is imperative to utilize your unique attributes and skills to move forward in your career. My outlook is, why not utilize the amazing skills and qualities that we have gained throughout our unique life experiences to aid us in our journey toward our vision of success.”
Shannon, we applaud you for your passion and the work you do both within and outside of NPower in helping more young women in Baltimore claim their rightful seat at the table and their space in tech.