Husky 100

August 27, 2020

Where are they Now: Aayush Saxena

I am currently working as a software engineer at Sonos, home audio company for almost 2 years now. Never thought I would be able to balance my time and doing two jobs of teaching and being a software engineer. The Husky 100 award gave a platform to take on more that I really cared about. It also was a boost of confidence to help me to apply to programs. I was also more confident about making a bigger impact to the community.

During my UW experience, I joined the UW Dream project. The staff member I closely worked with was Jenee Myers Twitchell. The work she did for the program and how she cared about diversity and being more inclusive by working with underrepresented students. Dream Project that is a student-initiated program that places college students at high school to work with underrepresented populations. She was passionate about working with these kids that do not have the resources and inspired. They are first generation students without support from families. I was really impacted by her and looking at education in general. I am encouraging more students from underrepresented populations to get into technology.

After graduation in 2018, I wanted to keep with teaching and making an impact on the community of which was a part of my application for the Husky 100. I am volunteering for about a year in a Microsoft initiated program called TEALS. The program connects high schools that are remote with tech industry volunteers, specifically software engineers to help classroom teachers teach software programming. The main focus is on female and underrepresented minorities’ representation. Software engineering is not very popular. I remotely teach and visit Selah High School twice a quarter. Parents & children are not taught about the Tech field. A lot of the students will be first-generation college students, so I feel it’s important to motivate them and help them understand why college is important and how Computer Science as a field is awesome! I want to inspire classroom teachers and visit schools to boost interest in technology. I usually talk about a typical day for me and how interesting the work is. TEALS also allows the students to visit tech offices where they can actually see the company culture, meet industry leaders and see how a company runs on a daily basis. I also talk about how versatile it is. You can get into music technology or game design. There’s not just one path you can take. I enjoy talking with underrepresented groups about software engineering as a person within the underrepresented group since I believe it is more impactful.