supporting Cambridge public school students

Volunteer Stacy Williams, Audible

NetPal Mentor Stacy Williams

CRLS Student-Written Career Profile:

Stacy Williams, Software Development Engineer, Audible

This year, with support from the Cambridge Agassiz Harvard Fund, Cambridge School Volunteers engaged and guided a handful of Cambridge Rindge and Latin students in interviewing professionals in STEM industries. This is the first of the profiles in that series.

“For me it was great to see other women in technology,” says Stacy Williams, a Software Development Engineer at Audible and Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) volunteer with NetPals. As the topic shifts, Stacy begins to speak about her student mentee. “Maybe someday she’ll look back and say hey, I met a female engineer! I’d like her to realize that ‘if I did want to do this, this is something I could do.’”

Stacy is a Software Development Engineer at Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming. She works specifically in developing Audible on Alexa devices, a voice-activated technology. She says that if it weren’t for her high school teacher, she wouldn’t be in the computer science field today. One day her teacher pulled her aside and said “Hey, this might be something that you’re really interested in, why don’t you do some research and see.”

Stacy moved from Jamaica to the U.S. as a child, and grew up in New York City. She reports she had no family members in the technology field. Years later, Stacy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and an MBA at Stanford University. Reflecting on her early years, she notes “There wasn’t much discussion of engineering in Jamaica, or New York. I did not consider engineering as a field for myself when I was younger.”

It wasn’t until high school that Stacy was introduced to computer science and found that it was something she’d like to pursue. In college, at Rensselaer, she majored in Computer Science and Computer Systems Engineering. She says that without that high school teacher, and the small push in the direction of her current field, she wouldn’t have even considered that subject area as a potential career option.

“He really impacted where I ended up going in my life, so I always see how I can do the same thing.” In addition to volunteering as a NetPal herself, Williams works with NetPals as coordinator for the company in the program. In NetPals, Williams enjoys what initially attracted her to computer science and technology—new technology and problem solving.“The technology field is always moving so quickly. There is always so much more to learn.”

Because of her experience with many mentors throughout her life, she feels that working with CSV is a way of giving back. “I get the chance to help someone understand what some of the options are out there, from a career and a lifestyle standpoint.” Her hope is to inspire a student and do the same as what was done for her.

Being a woman of color in the technology field, Williams appreciates that Cambridge Public Schools students are able to see different types of people working in the real world through NetPals. “What I really like about the program is that students get the chance to meet people in the industry and working in the field. The more people you get the chance to meet, the more opportunities you’re getting exposed to.”

—Nacie Loh

—Nacie Loh is a sophomore at CRLS who enjoys math, art, soccer and swimming. She is completing her first computer science class this year and looks forward to taking Environmental Science and other STEM-related electives before graduation.

If you’d like to join CSV to lend a hand to students in the Cambridge Public Schools through mentoring, tutoring, or becoming a classroom volunteer, come to an orientation for new volunteers.