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Inspirational Interview: Meredith Underell

by Ashley on November 4, 2013 · 4 comments

This is one of our Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Meredith, a Developer, Designer, and Mad Supporter of Women in Tech. 

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1. Tell us a little about yourself!

Here’s a fabulous summary: Developer & Designer. Badass. Wildly Enthusiastic! Mad Supporter of Women in Tech.

And here’s a few more things: I am a developer, designer and project manager all rolled into one. Hello unique skill set! I build amazing things, like my fabulous website, I am the Ladies Learning Code Vancouver Chapter Lead and I also volunteer for the TEDxYouth in Toronto organization.

2. What does living a “super awesome life” look like for you?

To me, it’s a simple life with TONS of fun, smiling, laughing, amazing conversation, dancing in your kitchen to some JT and zero tolerance for bullshit. It means showing the world who you really are and giving back to the community. Being able to work on something I’m incredibly passionate about is what gets me up every morning!

3. What inspired you to become a web developer?

I worked as a project manager in the mobile and video game industries. When I sat in meetings with the developers, we’d talk about what specific app / game features to implement. One day I thought to myself “I want to be able to integrate that feature!”. Then while I was speaking to a group of 300 junior high and high school girls about the benefits of a STEM career, I told them that I was going to become a developer. BAM! I should have done a mic drop for a dramatic effect. So I started by taking just one coding course and I loved it. Now I know all sorts of languages and love challenging myself to solve a new problem every single day.

4. What has been your biggest challenge since deciding to pursue web development and coding professionally?

My biggest challenge has been navigating through the big world of coding on my own. That’s why I’m a big supporter of mentorship programs and guided in-person & online classes! It’s important that you feel supported and can have someone to turn to when you have questions. There is SO much to learn, so many languages, new problems to solve every minute of the day. It’s exciting and sometimes daunting.

5. What advice would you give to women who want to learn how to code?

Just do it! Start by attending a local workshop or signing up for a course. See if you like it first before fully immersing yourself! There are tons of resources! If you live in Canada, I highly recommend Ladies Learning Code or HackerYou. In the US, there’s Girl Develop It and there are all sorts of free and paid online courses: Treehouse, Codecademy, Code School, Coursera and General Assembly just to name a few. There is so much out there! That’s what makes it so exciting.

Another tip is don’t just read about coding, you need to write code. The best way to learn is to build build build! Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you have a question: @MeredithU.

6. What little things in life right now make you do a happy dance? Big things?

My fabulous and amazing friends, when a really hard coding problem starts to work (I literally feel like I’m on top of the world!), hot chocolate, waking up to sun shining through my window, working at a coffee shop, my Steve Madden combat boots (best boots ever!), my fireplace and being able to come up with an idea and then build it out myself.

7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?

If I couldn’t play myself, I’d love for Rachel McAdams to play me. She just plains ROCKS! I mean seriously….The Notebook + Ryan Gosling….need I say more?!

8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?

To continue increasing awareness about the benefits of a STEM career. When I speak at schools, I tell them that ‘if there is even just one topic in one of your science classes that you like or are curious about, then dive into that more. Explore it b/c you never know where it will take you. Don’t give up!’.

9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?

“Dare to be fabulous.”

10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?

Knowing that how I spend my time is what I love doing. I’m on the right path and it feels absolutely empowering!

Thanks so much for sharing, Meredith!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Holli November 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Meredith is in my online course and she’s one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of “meeting”. Go, Meredith! You truly are an inspiration, and I think it’s amazing that you spend time reaching out to other young women, helping them discover their passion. More women need to be in the science and tech fields.

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Meredith November 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Awww Holli!! Thank you so so much girl! Keep doing what you’re doing…you’re amazing at it. :)

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Lisa November 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Meredith is sunshine wrapped up in true positivity and inspiration. We only worked together for a short time, but I will remember her smile forever.

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Meredith November 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Lisa!! I love and miss you so so much. You’re amazing and so talented with those mad photography skills. I wish we were still up on the mountain…not working but heading into the backcountry instead. :)

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