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Women of PDX: A Sit Down with Katie Allen, Applications Design Analyst

Sometimes we find ourselves feeling unfulfilled in the career path we have chosen. That is exactly how Katie Allen, Applications Design Analyst, felt prior to joining PDX. With the determination to learn something new, Katie found herself going from the financial industry to working in design in the pharmacy-technology industry. Read more about Katie and her journey to PDX, including thoughts about women in computer science, diversity in the workplace, and more!


How did you end up at PDX?

KA: “After graduating from Oklahoma State University, I worked in the financial industry for a few years. The work was unfulfilling, however, and it became apparent before too long that I needed a new career path. I decided to venture into pharmacy and applied for a position in the Third-Party department at PDX. I was excited to learn a new (to me) industry, not realizing what was in store for me. They asked me to take on a new service PDX would soon be offering for D.0 prescription claim billing. Before long, I was learning Unix, SQL, more excel formulas than I knew existed, and of course pharmacy third-party billing. I found out quickly that not only did I love the work, I seemed to have a knack for it.”


When did you first show an interest in STEM?

Headshot of Katie Allen

Katie Allen, Applications Design Analyst

KA: “There was never an “ah ha” moment, even looking back my favorite courses varied – some STEM courses, some humanities. It wasn’t until coming to PDX that I discovered an interest in technology. Before then, I thought of technology as a resource for other goals, but once I saw the puzzle running behind the scenes, I was hooked and wanted to learn more.”


What do you enjoy most about working at PDX?

KA: “Besides the job itself, PDX has provided me so many opportunities for learning and growth. I started in the Third-Party department working on a D.0 claim service, and then moved to the Drug Services department where I took on some of their production testing. From there, I moved to EPS Support where I learned a completely new application. Looking for the next challenge, I moved to EPS design. I am now the designer for our inventory management solution, Turn Rx.  If you work hard and are open to changes, you can learn any area you want.”


Do you think diversity and inclusion is important in the workplace? Why?

KA: “Of course! Having people from different backgrounds and industries brings different ideas, questions, and use cases to our product that would have been missed otherwise. But, with that you also must create a feeling of inclusion which allows for everyone to feel comfortable to bring their ideas, questions and concerns to the table. Open discussion from a diverse group is key to improving our products.”


What is your opinion on the low number of women compared to men in computer science careers? Do you think there will be a change in the future?

KA: “I think we are seeing more and more women choose computer science careers, which is encouraging. Getting young girls involved in STEM earlier in life will help the numbers grow. Showing them different computer science careers and the people that make up the industry will also help. It’s not all pocket protectors and taped glasses.”


What is your hope for the future of women in STEM? 

KA: “My hope for anyone in STEM is that we can continue to research, create, and innovate while retaining a high-level of moral obligation to society.”


Any advice to the young girls that want to pursue a career in STEM?

KA: “Speak up, ask a lot of questions, and don’t let fear, intimidation, or the challenges we all face as women stop you from following your passion.”


Read our previous Women of PDX blog post here.

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