Women of PDX: A Sit Down with Sed Masic, Project Manager
From reading about Nikola Tesla as a young girl to getting her first computer after finding refuge in the United States, Sed Masic, Project Manager at PDX, has always had a passion for technology. Learn more about Sed as she talks about her journey to PDX, women in STEM, and more.
How did you end up at PDX?
SM: “I worked for Express Scripts at night as a Pharmacy Technician and attended University of Texas, Arlington during the day. I just happened to be taking online courses the semester that I received a call from a consulting firm about a new department and a new position at PDX and they wanted to interview me. It fit my schedule perfectly, I could work both jobs and still manage my course work. A few months later, PDX offered me a permanent position and I accepted.”
When did you first show an interest in STEM?
SM: “My first interest in STEM predates my first on-hand experience with computers. I grew up reading about and admiring Nikola Tesla and his advances in technology and watching Star Trek!
My official interest in technology occurred after moving to The United States as a refugee. A volunteer from a charitable organization gifted me with an older Tandy computer and a dot-matrix printer. I spent months playing Frogger, trying different commands, and printing banners! It was a whopping 25MHz processor that made the magic happen! Totally laughing at this now because my processor clocks 3.6GHz today, but I’m sure in another 10-15 years, we’ll be laughing at this when we’re running qubits or even faster.”
What do you enjoy most about working at PDX?
SM: “I get no greater joy than being a part of my teams who deliver projects and software solutions to fruition. What I enjoy the most about working at PDX is that I am constantly surrounded by the smartest, most innovative and passionate people you’ll ever meet! They respect and value my input, and I enjoy learning from theirs.”
Do you think diversity and inclusion is important in the workplace? Why?
SM: “Diversity and inclusion are a must in the workplace. As a Project Manager for multiple teams at PDX, I love seeing how diverse all my teams are. All my team members have different experiences, different strengths and their collective input is what contributes to our long-term success and innovative solutions.”
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?
SM: “I wholeheartedly believe that this will change in the future. It will not be an immediate change, but rather a gradual shift over time.
We know we have a gap and a lack of interest in technology, whether it came from “pinkification” or fear of being marginalized, misconceptions, it is not for me to say, but the lack of women in the tech pipeline is very real. I witness it in conferences, in expos, and even projects. Many women do not even know that the founder of computer programming is a woman (Ada Lovelace).
What I do admire is that people are focusing on changing the future and closing the gap.
More philanthropists are focusing on exposing younger female children to technology at an early age. More cartoon characters, superheroes, and toys are now depicting female leads working on technology.
Also, Computer Science is a relatively young term compared to many other fields. The “World Wide Web” and “Internet of Things” are even younger terms, which means that my generation (millennials) are first to be exposed to “main-stream” technology. Even in my own experience, had I not been gifted a computer, my first exposure to computers would have come from a computer class in my senior year of high school. By then it is late because most have already made plans. This is now changing, and my belief is that as technology is more available, affordable, and understood, we will have more women contribute to the field.”
What is your hope for the future of women in STEM?
SM: “My hope for the future of women in STEM is that they continue to pioneer and pave the way for the younger generation. I hope that equality becomes a reality and the scales amongst all STEM fields become equal in representation (both male and female).”
Any advice to the young girls that want to pursue a career in STEM?
SM: “One of my favorite quotes growing up was hearing Miss Frizzle (The Magic School Bus) yell, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
This would be my advice for young girls as well.
All great things happen because someone takes a chance.
And if you happen to make a mistake, accept that everyone makes them and let the knowledge you gain from resolving it build your confidence.”
Read our previous Women of PDX blog post here.