Katie Siek

Boulder, CO, US
Field of Work 
Computer Science
Company 
University of Colorado Boulder
Job Title or "Student" 
Assistant Professor
Education 
Indiana University Bloomington
Degree 
Computer Science
Education Level 
PhD
Profile Biography 
Katie Siek, a native of New York, became interested in computers in the 4th grade - she wanted a piano, but her father bought a computer instead. Her father helped her create a program that made each key on the keyboard play a different sound. Soon Katie forgot about wanting a piano and started tinkering with computers.

She always knew she wanted to go to college, but she was unsure about how she could afford college since she was the first person in her family to go to college. Her mother was instrumental in helping her through this process - they spent many hours together in the library reading books about colleges and financial aid. She finally selected Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and funded herself through academic awards, an athletic scholarship, and personal loans. During college, Katie explored different career opportunities by interning with Lucent Technologies and conducting research through the Ford Apprentice Scholars Program. She loved doing research because it gave her the opportunity to become an expert on a specific topic - one day she even taught her professor something new!

Since she wanted to do research, Katie decided to pursue her Ph.D. with a fellowship from the National Physical Science Consortium that paid for her schooling and provided her with a salary! Initially, she did not like her research because she did not see how it could help people. Then, she took a break from graduate school to take care of her terminally ill mother. During this time, she realized her true passion was in creating technology that could empower people to manage their health. After her mom passed away, Katie pursued this new research area, health informatics, with fervor. She has been creating technology to help people improve their health ever since.

Katie is now an assistant professor in Computer Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her favorite thing about being a professor is getting the opportunity to work with brilliant students who create things that they had previously only imagined. Katie currently lives in Colorado with her husband, Jeremy (a professor in Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering!), and school-aged daughter. When she is not working, Katie can be found biking, running, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, or pretending with her family.

Her advice to students would be to never give up. As long as you think you can do something and are willing to work on it, you can (and will) do it.
Interests 
Working outdoors, Computing, Reading, Sports, Other
Race & Ethnicity 
White
Level of Participation 
Job shadow, Online role model, Other
My Experience 
I have been a Role Model many times.
Availability 
Weekdays, Weekends
Resources 
Fun demonstrations or materials, Hands-on activities for students, Identifying other role models
Program Affiliation 
Other

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