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Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2024

Emily Williamson

“If you asked me five years ago where I would be today, I never would have guessed that I would be graduating with my software engineering degree, let alone receiving the Outstanding Graduate award from Fulton Schools,” says Emily Williamson.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Williamson was employed in the health care sector, putting her bachelor’s degree in biology from Arizona State University to work. However, she began to consider how she could use her professional experience analyzing and leveraging data in a new way.

Inspired by the small class sizes and personalized learning options available from engineering programs offered on the Polytechnic campus within the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, Williamson turned her attention to earning a degree in software engineering and making a career change.

She got to work. Williamson combined perfect grades with a zeal to gain critical industry experience. She received the All Builders Welcome Grant to attend the Amazon Web Services re:Invent event, a learning conference where programmers hone their web development skills, participated in several hackathons and has been working on a capstone project sponsored by Boeing.

Williamson also completed three summer internships at GoDaddy, working on web-based applications and cloud computing projects. The company was so impressed that they offered her a job. After graduation, she’ll join their team as a software development engineer.

The returning student thrived in classes led by Associate Teaching Professor Alexandra Mehlhase, who Williamson saw as both a brilliant software engineer and role model for women wanting to enter the tech sector.

Williamson says, “Seeing what Mehlhase could do in a male-dominated field motivated me to put my all into this degree.”

Mehlhase says that Williamson was an inspirational student.

“Emily did not just receive top grades, outshining many others but she is also someone who is kind, willing to help others and is an overall amazing person,” says Mehlhase “She is an example that, with a positive mindset and attitude, you can accomplish so much. Emily should be proud of herself. I know I am!”

Going forward, Williamson wants to encourage others.

“I hope my experience and accomplishments as a woman in engineering can give other women this same motivation to reach their goals,” she says.

Williamson’s long-term goals include advancing to a principal software engineering position and combining her programming skills with her health background to spur advancements in medical technology. She is excited about what the future has to offer.

“This was a challenging degree and there were many times I questioned if I could pull this all off,” Williamson says. “But with dedication and determination, I was always able to come up with some type of solution that I was proud to put my name on.”

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2024 class here.

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