Adventure is in their genes

For Cassidy and Camryn Williams, a sense of adventure must be genetic. Because for these two sisters majoring in computer science at Iowa State, no adventure is too big to undertake. Especially when it comes to the one thing they happen to share other than their DNA -- a passion for leading the way for women in computing and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

Take for instance last year when the two were invited to speak at the White House Tech Inclusion Summit. There, they got to talk about their experiences as women in computer science, while also making connections with professionals from big-name companies. “People from all these large corporations and start-up companies kept asking me to meet with them,” said Cassidy, a senior. Added Camryn, a sophomore, “Everyone I met at the summit was so encouraging. They said, ‘You are paving the way for others.’ That will always stay with me.”

As the Williams sisters have already discovered, academics can lead Iowa State students to opportunities they’ve only dreamed about. And in their role of computer science mentors, these sisters are flying high. Sometimes literally, like when Cassidy was the only student to participate in “UnGrounded,” an innovation lab held aboard a private British Airways flight. Other participants? Oh, just tech superstars like Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

Students across all majors at Iowa State are taking part in remarkable activities outside of the classroom. Whether it’s being invited to speak at the White House, going to Minneapolis for a class design trip, or traveling to Rome to study biodiversity, amazing opportunities stem from Iowa State academics.