First Name

Alexa

Last Name

Z.

Bio

Alexa has always been interested in science and technology. From the time she entered kindergarten to the time she entered junior high, she had her heart set on being a scientist. She did not have a particular field picked out, as she was not aware of the vast array of options that fell into the field of science, and she had not yet discovered her love and passion for technology. She spent lots of time building websites on Webs.com, using modules to create webpages. She created a website for her mother’s dog-breeding business. Alexa also learned a good deal of HTML coding during fifth and sixth grade to format forum posts she used to make on a roleplay forum she used to take part in. In seventh grade, she won first place in Heredity at the school’s local Science Olympiad competition, first place in Write It Do It at the regional Science Olympiad competition, and first place in Class B State Science Olympiad in Anatomy and Physiology. Throughout high school, she has been an active member in such extra-curricular activities such as band, speech and debate, Science Olympiad, SADD, FCCLA, One Act, and yearbook. She state-qualified in Prose Interpretation for speech in eighth grade, then for Impromptu Speaking and Storytelling in ninth grade, and then Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Storytelling in tenth grade, placing sixth in the state Class B tournament for Storytelling. Throughout this time, she was known throughout the class as the most tech-savvy person. Teachers would ask her for help with technical issues above everyone else. Then, in the summer after eighth grade, she attended iD Tech, a technology camp in Minnesota. Alexa attended two summers in a row, the first to get a look at Java Programming and the second to work with Unity, C#, and game programming. She discovered that programming was something she enjoyed doing, and for awhile she thought it might lead her to a future career of software engineering. After sophomore year of high school, she attended GenCyber's coeducational camp in South Dakota, where she learned the basics of security, programming in C, and networking. She thoroughly enjoyed the camp, and her desire for a career in technology was cemented. In addition, Alexa worked for her school's technology coordinator over the summer to set up and prepare her school’s new body of student and staff laptops. While she does not think software engineering the right fit for her anymore, she knows technology will play a huge role in her future. Alexa has always been interested in space, and she enjoys math. She has a great interest in technology, and she knew that the combination of coding, math, and space-tech would be the perfect occupation for her. In addition to a major in political science and a minor in women’s and gender studies, she dreams of attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a major in aerospace engineering, more specifically: astronautical engineering. She would love to earn her Master’s Degree in both Astronautical Engineering and Political Science and pursue a career in operating and designing spacecraft for NASA. She wants to be a part of the team that helps the people of Earth to uncover the mysteries of space. She also wants to use her knowledge of technology to catalyze advancements in the world of politics and (more specifically) in ensuring women a more prevalent place in the world of STEM. In her opinion, her greatest technical accomplishment has been successfully hacking a wireless network during her advanced wireless hacking class at GenCyber camp. Second, by only a little, is that she was able to crack several passwords during her password cracking class at GenCyber.