Pleased to introduce Meredith Sivick: A software engineer who was a Washington Redskins Cheerleader!
Why engineering, Meredith?
I have always admired scientist and engineers – my father, Tom Moser, is a Rocket Scientist who works for NASA and headed up the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs. He was also the lead engineer for putting the first flag on the moon!!
You’ve got degrees from the University of Texas. What did you study?
Psychology and Computers and dance and gymnastics of course!! 🙂
The best part of my day is solving complex software interaction problems which result in making a task more efficient or easier for the end user.
First, I determine what exactly those who will be using the software need to accomplish with the software. We call this requirements gathering and analysis. Then we determine how the software can be engineered to accomplish the various tasks, this is call systems analysis. Then I design the user interface and workflow that determines how those using the software will interact with the application to get their work done. This involves defining the interaction models, specifying the information architecture (how to organize the information and what things are called), laying of the interactive elements (buttons, menus, widgets, etc.), and the doing the visual design. The end result of my work is call the “User Experience Design” and it shows exactly how the software will look and behave to the end user – all the way down to the error messages. The software engineers then use this to build the software. The quality assurance engineers will use my specification document to ensure the software is built as it was designed.
Favorite and/or most challenging courses you took to prepare for your degree?
My favorite course were the psychology courses where I learned about human behavior and perceptions and human factors engineering principals. These courses prepared me for my career in software design.
You cheered for the Washington Redskins in the 90s. Why did you try out to be a professional cheerleader?
Even though I grew up in Texas, the Washington Redskins were my favorite team because of the “Hogs.” I really wanted a front row seat to the games and the cheerleaders have the best seat! I cheered for the Washington Redskins for four seasons. The most exciting part about cheering was being able to watch the game from the sidelines!
What advice would you give to your 12-year-old self?
My advice for youngsters is first, Believe in Yourself and follow your dreams – don’t let others decide who or what you want to be. If you are unsure of doing one or the other, the best thing to do is give it a try. Give all of your dreams a good try – it will make you happy. If you are happy, people will want to be around you and accept you easily regardless if you are a cheerleader, scientist, or both! If I could give myself any advice when I was 12, I’d say believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to go for your biggest dream. Just do it!
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue designing software and coaching gymnastics and teaching my dance class and hopefully performing with the Science Cheerleaders. I love working with children and teaching them how to believe in themselves. It is so rewarding to see them get a gymnastics skill they wanted so much!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
That I was adopted at birth and found both of my birth parents when I was 26 years old. My birth parents were thrilled that I was OK and super surprised that I was a Pro Cheerleader!
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
To help encourage young girls and children in general to follow their dreams.