2020 Professional Development Scholar Spotlight: Paige Biggs

Paige Biggs

It was the TV show “Mr. Robot” that ignited Paige Biggs’ (CS ’22) passion for coding at a young age and propelled her forward in her journey in tech. “I thought that I could be a hacker if I learned how to code,” she says, adding, “I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t true, but stuck around because of how I enjoyed it.”

Paige completed her first internship at a startup where she handled a multitude of front-end development projects and miscellaneous IT tasks. She is currently in her second internship. As a woman starting her career in tech, she struggles with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy because she “started much later than [her] peers.” As Paige explains, she often finds herself caught up in the notion that there are people who know more and have years of expertise. “I’m competing for opportunities against people who have years of experience over me. It can be really discouraging,” she says.

Another visible issue for Paige has been the fact that there are simply not enough women in the tech field. She has noticed that her male counterparts seem more comfortable in both academic and corporate worlds. “They’re surrounded by other male students, taught by a male teacher, interviewed by male employers, etc. It’s like a natural environment for them,” she says. So, she often finds herself in a setting where she continually feels like she is “inserting [herself] into [her] male peers’ space.”

When it comes to gender equity and inclusion, Paige thinks diverse representation in technology is extremely important to bring a new dimension to the entire scope of the work and new breakthroughs on problems that have been overlooked previously.

"The lack of overall diversity is concerning, considering the products produced can affect millions of people. For example, a lack of diverse representation within a programming team can lead to unchecked/unconscious biases in algorithms or AI, which can have scary consequences."

Yet, Paige loves being part of the tech industry with new innovations impacting nearly every aspect of modern life, and she is determined to chart her own career course forward.

"I never really realized how powerful the tech industry was. There isn’t a sector in the world that hasn’t been touched by technology."

Paige’s Thoughts on CWRU Women in Tech Initiative

Paige thinks CWRU WIT Professional Development Scholars Program is an opportunity to create a safe environment where she can grow, feel more confident in her professional abilities, and learn from other women’s experiences by connecting with them.

"It’s a program designed to be a safe and productive space for professional women looking to gain support in a male-dominated sector."