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Viral #ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign Reaches Grand Rapids Tech Community

Aubrey Baker sitting on the CQL sign

Recently, four women from the CQL team, Larissa Field, Abby Ziolkowski, Laura Sullivan, and Aubrey Baker (shown here), were featured in an Mlive article about the viral #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign.

These women, along with other Michigan women working in technology, were photographed for the article posing with a sign that explained what kind of technology work they do and the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineerGR, a local spin on the original hashtag.

Aubrey was interviewed for the article and discussed discovering her love of computers in middle and high school, and the path that led her to CQL. After earning her Bachelor’s from Michigan Tech, Aubrey went on to study her Master’s in Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. Most recently, she has led CQL in hosting BitCamp, a day of code for middle school girls.

“Coding is like learning to think through a problem and translate it to a set of rules,” she told Mlive.

Aubrey was the only female web developer on the team when she joined CQL in December. Even so, as she explained to Mlive, she was surprised a woman in her field was singled out for not looking like an engineer. 

That woman was Isis Wegner, the software engineer who started the viral #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign. Isis faced backlash after agreeing to take part in her company’s recruiting campaign. People commented that the company must have hired a model for the recruiting campaign because Isis didn’t look like their perception of a software engineer.

To combat the stereotypes of what an engineer is “supposed” to look like, Isis wrote a post on her blog about the experience and posted the following image on Twitter:

The campaign has now spread internationally, sparking a dialogue about the stereotypes and sexism that women in technology face just for doing their jobs. This campaign is one inspiring step in the right direction, but there's plenty work left to do in order to make the technology industry an equal and welcoming place for everyone in the field. 

CQL has worked to intentionally increase the number of women working on our team, specifically in technical roles. However, we don’t deserve applause for doing the right thing by ignoring social biases and hiring talented women to join our team. The women in this industry combatting stereotypes and biases do—women like Isis, or Aubrey, Larissa, Laura, and Abby.

So, stereotype-smashing women out there, here's to you.

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