Meet Bold Idea Mentor Mae


Meet Mae Rock - an Alkami project manager, UTD alum and Bold Idea program site coordinator. In addition to having an awesome name, Mae uses her problem solving and efficiency skills to ensure that our Alkami program site runs smoothly each week. She rocks!

What is something many people don't know about you?
I'm the first person in my family to graduate from college.

How did you become interested in technology?
I've always been a "problem solver" and focused on efficiency - how to get the highest grade with the least amount of studying, how to travel to the most places with the least amount of money and PTO, how to make the most money with the least amount of work, etc. As I got more familiar with computers, I realized you could do a lot more with less if you used a computer as part of your resources, so I took Keyboarding and Computer Science in High School.

What did you study in college?
I went to UTD (woosh!) and graduated with a BS in Neuroscience.

What are you working on now?
I am a Project Manager working on Banking Software and Apps. I'm the one who gathers requirements from the client, translates them into technical work for the "doers" such as computer programmers, then translates what's been done back to "normal speak" for the client. It requires skills in organization and communication, and a lot of technical knowledge.

What have you gained from being a mentor? What was your most memorable moment while mentoring?I've learned to turn projects on their head and think about it from a completely different angle. When working with kids and working with people new to coding (or new to this specific project), you see how they approach challenges differently than you would, and that's a really good tool to have for my own projects and life. The moments that stick with me the most from Bold Idea sessions is when troubleshooting or debugging works out - everyone is so STOKED to have found the problem, put in hard work, and then see it FIXED.

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Is there anything that you wish you could tell your younger self about coding?
Keep an eye on the news for up-and-coming programming languages, software, or hardware. The industry is changing all the time, and if you start learning about it early on, you may become an expert while most people aren't paying attention yet, and then that skill-set becomes exponentially more valuable.

What is it about Bold Idea's mission that really connects with you?
"Bold Idea develops critical thinkers, problem solvers and effective communicators who are proficient in core technology skills" - these skills are integral to any mature, successful person. Having the opportunity to be a part of cultivating these attributes for the next generation makes me feel involved and proud of the future.