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Graduate looks to make social impact through technology

portrait of Michelle Capriles-Escobedo
May 07, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Michelle Capriles-Escobedo dreams of owning a non-profit or business that uses technology to make a social impact.

“I see technology as a great vessel for connecting people from polar backgrounds to increase understanding of each other,” said Capriles-Escobedo, a Fulton Schools Outstanding Graduate from Gaithersburg, Maryland. “I am particularly interested in improving the quality and access of education, improving resources for and awareness of mental health, and mitigating the gaps in opportunities and resources in between communities of varying wealth.”

Capriles-Escobedo was going to school part-time as an online student during her first year at Arizona State University when she realized software engineering was the right career path for her.

“I was working full-time for a research department at ASU, where my tasks varied widely,” she said. “I noticed that even when I was fatigued, I never got bored of programming and my interest in it only grew. I figured if I could program and enjoy it even when I was tired, I could feel secure in pursuing this as a career.”

Getting involved in the Software Developers Association, also known as SoDA, is where her experiences at ASU really took off. As a junior, she was the marketing committee lead and director of communications for SoDA. She was then elected president for the next year, and in SoDA managed a team of 20 officers and introduced four new initiatives to develop a deeper sense of community within members.

“I really enjoy being connected with other students with similar interests and drive,” she said. “I progressively increased my involvement because I’ve found that working with other students with similar goals as me is very motivating and I’m now part of a supportive community of people that I have learned a lot from.”

Her work in SoDA didn’t go unnoticed.

“I was recruited to be director of marketing for Southwest Hacks,” she said. “I built a team of 10 people from scratch and together we got over 400 students to attend, which is a lot for a first-time hackathon. A lot of work went into putting together what was a really big hackathon, and as much work and stress as it was, seeing it succeed made it all worth it. I would label it as one of the best weekends of my life.”

After graduation Capriles-Escobedo will be working at Qualtrics in Seattle, Washington, as a software engineer starting in July 2018.

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