As Women’s History Month draws to a close, the KPMG Future Leaders Program would like to spotlight a couple members in the program who are beginning to write their own chapters in the history book. These remarkable individuals are paying it forward to the young women coming up behind them, while fearlessly pursuing their own lofty ambitions.
Alyssa DeLouise | KPMG Future Leaders Class of 2019 | Purdue University
Throughout her education, Alyssa DeLouise has often felt like an outsider as a young woman pursuing a career in STEM.
In May of 2020, Alyssa wrote a blog for Reinvented Magazine titled Because I Belong Here (a nod to personal motto that she often recites) which focused on her experience as a woman in STEM and overcoming her feelings of imposter syndrome. Alyssa received positive feedback from young girls all over the country and has embraced the opportunity to help them find their own paths.
“I always tell the girls to find what makes them happy,” Alyssa said. “At the end of the day, if you want to pursue STEM, it’s going to be hard and you want to make sure it’s worth it. If you love it, go for it, and don’t let the obstacles phase you. Take it on with a kind heart, a gracious soul and a fierce attitude.”
With her sophomore year at Purdue coming to a close, Alyssa has opportunities in the next few months to gain STEM experience outside the classroom. In addition to her current role as intern at a software startup, she will be taking another internship with BP this summer, with a focus on improving her coding skills. Alyssa is determined to gain as much experience as she can and take advantage of all the opportunities that come her way, and to use the knowledge she gains to open doors for other young women in STEM.
“The reason I became an engineer is because I want to make a difference,” Alyssa said. “I want to help people and do the social part. There’s going to be one girl down the line that says ‘you’ve inspired me and I’m an engineer because of you,’ and that’s when I’ll know that I’ve made it. I’m so grateful to be in the spot that I’m in, and I’m so grateful to all the people that have believed in me.”
Blaine Engeda| KPMG Future Leaders Class of 2020 | Stanford University
When Blaine Engeda got to high school, she quickly realized that she was one of only a few girls in her computer science and engineering classes. In search of community and a sense of belonging, Blaine participated in the Girls Who Code summer program, which inspired her to create a Girls Who Code club at her school. Although Blaine has now moved on to the next step in her education, the club remains active has provided an opportunity for its members to be themselves and explore their interests without feeling like they don’t belong.
“We didn’t have a coding club at all,” Blaine said. “The closest thing we had was a robotics club, and even in that there was only one girl out of 40 in the club. It’s been really great to see so many people in my school participate. It was nice having a bunch of girls come out and hang together, and we tried to make it as fun as possible. We would take little field trips to different companies, like Facebook, and it was nice seeing them connect what we taught them in the classroom to a bigger setting in a future workplace.”
An exciting opportunity awaits Blaine this summer, as she heads to Seattle to participate in Amazon’s Future Engineer Program. Blaine is interested in several branches of STEM, and is hoping that the Amazon experience can help her hone in on what she wants to pursue as a major.
“I’m really looking forward to using this internship as a way to decide what I want to major in and help narrow my focus,” Blaine said. “I want to see if I’m more interested in strictly computer science, or more of an A.I. environment that would foster my growth in different fields. I want to talk with the employees there, see what they’re working on and figure out all the different things you can do. I want to use this as a way to explore myself and see what I’m most passionate about.”