Her Spark asks Steve Isaacs, education program manager at Epic Games, and Cathy Cheo-Isaacs, education program consultant at Epic Games, Five Questions. Here’s what they had to say!
Q1: Who is your favorite female role model and why?
Steve: X González is my favorite female role model because she is a proponent of student voice. She put herself front and center at the perfect time, and she encourages young people to speak their truth.
Cathy: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my favorite female role model because she broke countless barriers throughout her time in office. She taught me to fight for what I believe in and the importance of making a positive impact. I am also a fan of Michelle Obama because she is real, approachable and she believes in acting in the best interests of others.
Q2: What are you reading right now? Or what’s next on your reading list?
Steve: I am reading The Circle by Dave Eggers. If you love dystopian novels and all things technology, this is a must read!
Cathy: I am reading The Supernova, the last book in Marissa Meyer’s science and adventure fiction trilogy. It’s a great read if you love superhero stories! Barak Obama’s book, A Promised Land, is next on my reading list.
Q3: What’s the best career or academic advice you ever received?
Steve: You need to find and follow your passion. This is hands down the best career advice that I have ever received. I have always made a point to figure out how to do something in order to set my dreams in motion. This drive is what led me to discover my passion for gaming and teaching. Fortunately, I am now able to combine my interests in my current role with Epic Games and support educators in bringing technology tools to the classroom.
Cathy: It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can take action right away! We all bring various perspectives and experiences to the table. Find a way to use your knowledge and expertise to make a difference!
Q4: Her Spark’s mission is to equip girls with the STEM skills and opportunities to succeed in the careers of tomorrow – dedicated to solving gender disparity in computer science, engineering and technology careers. What does the Her Spark mission mean to you?
Steve: When I was in the classroom, I saw how important it was to increase student involvement in technology. Kids tend to make decisions on what they excel in at an early age. In order for young girls to understand the possibilities that are available to them, professionals need to provide exposure to various careers in the class setting. This is exactly what Her Spark does.
Cathy: Kids need to know what is available. Like Steve said, we do not know what lies ahead until we take the time to find it. I experienced this as I was forging my career path. Her Spark provides assistance in helping girls find their passion and encourages them to be open to new possibilities. The mission statement motivates girls to continue thinking beyond what they know exists and travel down the winding path of career discovery.
Q5: What is your favorite part of Summer Summit? If you haven’t attended before, what are you looking forward to the most?
Steve: My favorite part of Summer Summit was witnessing the participants’ love for video game creation blossom. There were a couple of girls in particular that were eager to share what they developed, and they expressed interest in building on their skills outside of the classroom. As professionals, all we can do is light a little spark. It’s a big win for me to know that Cathy and I played a part in exposing the girls to a new STEM career.
Cathy: The girls were so psyched! I could tell that the kids played games. However, when we showed the girls what video game creation involves, you could feel their excitement through the computer screen. My favorite part of Summer Summit was witnessing how powerful a new perspective can be and giving the girls a creative outlet that they can pursue professionally.
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About Her Spark
Founded in 2017 by professional women and business leaders, Her Spark is dedicated to solving gender disparity in computer science, engineering and technology careers. Her Spark’s mission is to equip girls with the skills and opportunities to succeed in the careers of tomorrow. For more information, to learn ways to get involved or to make a donation, please visit HerSpark.org.