This Engineer Is Using Community Service To Bring More Diversity Into STEM
Photo Credit: Brianna McCullough
Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names were once tech workers before venturing off to start their own companies. Many engineers and developers look to follow in these same footsteps, but Target engineer and AfroTech speaker Brianna McCullough thinks entrepreneurship may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
“You have to have a certain kind of personality to be an entrepreneur,” McCullough said. “I have friends who are always trying to convince me to do it, but I’m fine with working for someone else right now.”
Although McCullough has no plan to launch her own business, she is building out her brand with BriLimitless.com as a public speaker. She has already given talks at Google Developers Fest and will be a featured speaker at this year’s AfroTech conference focusing on AI.
“Every tech worker doesn’t need to start their own business,” McCullough said. “Sometimes, you need people helping from the inside.”
The Detroit-native and Michigan State University graduate currently oversees the management and deployment of automation technologies at Target and uses her expertise to give back to her community.
She volunteers with Sisters-N-Technology in Minneapolis encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM. In partnership with Target, it is the only after-school program that teaches the foundations of STEM and coding principles in Minneapolis Public Schools, according to the organization’s website.
“People want a seat at the table, but when they get a seat, they close the door behind them and don’t create ways to let other people in,” McCullough said.
She wants to break that cycle by giving local students access to coding and engineering. In March, McCullough even helped coordinate a field trip for three students to visit Facebook’s campus in Silicon Valley.
“My mom says I volunteer like I’m on probation,” McCullough said.
As McCullough advocates for more diversity in STEM in and out of the office, she wants more people to see volunteerism as a way to offset the racial and gender disparities within the industry.
As she spends multiple days a week volunteering with Sisters-N-Technology, she hopes to inspire the students to become engineers, developers, scientists, and more.