Being the youngest person in the room can be intimidating, but this is something Danielle Mullings has gotten used to. In fact, usually, she is not only the youngest person but also one of the few females in the room too.
Mullings hopes to see a time where this changes and is already heavily involved in that process.
The 20-years-old is pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Software Engineering for Mobile App Technologies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. She is in her first year and currently holds a 4.3 GPA.
Her decision to pursue a career in a male-dominated field was not based on any desire to prove that she could, but grounded in her love and affinity with technology.
“When I was little I used to challenge my teacher in prep school. She would come to class and said, ‘we are going to do this in Microsoft Word’ and then she would look at me and say ‘Danielle I bet you don’t know how to do this’, and I would say ‘miss I got it already and then I will bring it up and show her. She would come next week and try to bring up something that I haven’t learnt yet,” she said.
This love for technology was nurtured by her parents, who she said provided her with the resources to develop her skills.
She was also enlivened by the challenges it presented for her.
“I want to be in a space where I’m pushing my brain to be bigger and better, so I chose software engineering which I love and think it’s the perfect choice,” she told BUZZ.
And even though she has been doing well, she understood early on in her life, that girls didn’t exactly have a space in science and technology.
“When I was in fifth form I went to UWI at an engineering camp, and I think maybe three of us as girls in all were at the camp, the rest were boys,”
“In my group, I was the only girl, and I remember, I’d come up with solutions, and they would just almost ignore me. And I didn’t think that they even consciously recognized that they were ignoring me, or pushing my ideas away,” she said.
Fast forward to now, and Mullings still recognizes that girls in her classes at university have to work twice as hard to gain the respect of their male peers.
“The more they seeing women in those spaces doing it, the more they feel like they can.”— Mullings
But Mullings does not mind working harder, as she believes, the more girls work hard, and take up more space, the more opportunities will be created for the next generation of women who want to pursue a career in tech.
“I always stop at some point to say to the young girls, you can do it too. I feel like they just need some encouragement, somebody to believe in them and an overall system that provides for young girls, where they have a space to come and talk. The more they seeing women in those spaces doing it, the more they feel like they can,” she said.
Mullings represented Jamaica at the Wonder Woman Intech Conference in California in 2018 and is currently a member of the Young Tech Expert for Health- an international organization where she’s co-chair in charge of resources.
“I always stop at some point to say to the young girls, you can do it too, they just need some encouragement, somebody to believe in them.”— Mullings
She is hoping her achievements will inspire others.
“I love when they come up to me, and they say ‘Danielle I know you from Instagram, I want to be an astronaut,’ and I say,’ here’s what you need to do if I were you I would want to talk to this organization or that organization’, and letting them believe that someone is there with them,” she said.