Where are you from?
I was born and raised in New Orleans. Well, technically Old Metairie so right outside of New Orleans, but yeah, I’ve grown up here my whole life. I was away in Oxford, Mississippi for a while for college, and then I came back here after graduation.
Where did you go to school?
So I went to Ole Miss, which was awesome. I loved it up there. It was really nice. So I studied computer science, which was a really interesting program. Part of the reason I really liked Ole Miss’s computer science program is that there was a really amazing woman as the chair. And so she was really great and the engineering school was really well done in my opinion. I mainly focused on the engineering classes, and then I also dabbled with a couple of art classes. I took ceramics for two different semesters, which was really fun, especially because my best friend’s dad was the ceramics teacher. So that was pretty interesting.
It started off really basic, just like making cylinders. But we eventually got to making mugs, which I still have mugs that I use. We made a bunch of different cups and we learned how to make plates and bowls. And we were going to learn how to make teapots, but then the pandemic happened and we had to go online.
What was your path to Revelry?
So I graduated in early May and then after that, I worked for about five weeks at a company called Scandy. And so I interned there and I was just doing some different work, like mainly just shoulder surfing with the developers to get some experience and make sure I wasn’t just like, not like becoming stagnant while I was trying to find another job. And so then I saw that Revelry had an apprentice position open, so I applied and luckily got that. And so I went through the apprenticeship program, which I adored, I learned a ton. And then after that I got hired full time.
My apprenticeship class started at the end of July. I really liked it because it was a super great transition from coming from school where everything is based on, okay, “here is the specific problem you have to solve and you have to solve it using these specific tools in this specific way”. And then, so I was able to transition from that to “here’s a problem, solve it”. Which is obviously a really good skill to have as a developer. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is really fostered enough in formal education. So the apprenticeship was super valuable because of that.
What do you do at Revelry?
I’m a software engineer. Right now I’m doing a ton of research for the new project I’m on. I’m actually taking on more of a tech lead position in this project, which is super exciting, especially since I was only just an apprentice a few months ago. On my previous project I got to do a lot of the design thinking process alongside Hauwa, which was really cool.
What’s your current favorite programming language?
Well, currently I’m researching a lot. But most recently I was using C#, which was really cool, but I’m moving into using Elixir again, which I am excited about. Because I kind of missed coding in that.
What is your programming language of choice?
So I kind of picked this one because I feel like I always like the language that I’m working in currently the most just because I feel the most comfortable using it. And I also really like learning things actively. And so even if it’s something that I’ve never worked with before, getting to figure out the problems around the language and learning the different little quirks and things about it are really fun for me.
What is the best thing about your job?
Well, I guess there are two main things for me. There’s the like actual job-centered one has to do with just the fact that at Revelry you can work in so many different positions. Yes, I’m a software engineer, but I’ve also gotten the chance to go through this design thinking process and learn kind of more about what our partners are looking for, it allows me to empathize more as a developer because I can understand what the product owners want. And then I also have had the chance to do some project management types because engineers are encouraged to write tickets and figure out what needs to be added to projects and stuff along those lines. So I really liked that aspect.
The other part that’s not so much specifically job-centered is just the people. Just everyone that I’ve worked with has been amazing and I’ve really enjoyed every single person I’ve worked alongside. And they’ve also made it really easy to feel like I am part of the company, even though I’ve never been to the office, I’ve never met any of these people in person. So that’s been really nice.
So what was your biggest takeaway from the design thinking process?
Definitely a deeper appreciation for all the people who actively do all the design thinking exercises, just because I had no idea all the work that went into it. And there are constant interviews and lots of tedious, like consolidating information and figuring out, okay, we had an hour-long interview, how do we consolidate this into what that person was actually looking for? So definitely a deeper appreciation for all the people that do that as their main job. But also I do think it gave me a better different perspective on how to approach the engineering side of things, because I can much better look at a problem and say, okay, this is the engineering solution, but what is also the like user solution?
So I pretty frequently find myself asking – What is the goal for what they want?
That’s been very valuable and helps me to be more well-rounded as an engineer.
I went through all that design thinking with Hauwa on my first project as a full-time Revelry employee. And I was on it somewhat early in the process. So she and I were doing a ton of these design thinking exercises together and all these interviews and information consolidation.
So when it got time to actually the development, I felt like Hauwa and I already had this really good relationship and we’re able to kind of like brainstorm off each other and figure out, okay, this is the best way to do this. This is what they wanted from our interactions with them. So yeah, that relationship also is super important.
What’s your favorite slack channel?
Probably, I feel like it’s pretty standard, but probably watercooler. Just because it does give that element of, Oh, this is what conversation might casually be in an office just because we don’t have that.
What other interests do you have?
So I do have a dog and absolutely adore her. She’s wonderful. She’s a silver lab named Krewe. And then I also really like the band Glass Animals. They had a virtual concert back in October, which was super cool because it was like, I think they did like 10 bucks for a ticket and you were able to see this whole concert and it was really well done and it was very exciting. And so, yeah, I really enjoy all that stuff. And then I’m living at home right now, and hanging out with my family is also just super important to me and has been really great. I’ve also recently developed a love for plants. Within the past 6 months, I’ve gotten about 12 succulents and started taking care of some of my sister’s plants.
What can you talk about for days if you got up on your soapbox and talked about it?
I could talk about the importance of mental health forever because I feel like it is something that’s undervalued and not talked about nearly enough. And it’s something that I know. I mean, I’ve struggled with personally and so have so many other people, and just like being in a college environment and seeing how poorly gets handled, just not even at my college at other colleges as well. I just think it’s super important and I think there’s a lot of shame and stigma associated with it. And I think just bringing it to light is so, so important. And it’s also something that I’m not ashamed to talk about my experiences and if that’s something that is going to be helpful to others, then I would do it all day.
I honestly just think everyone should see a therapist. I think it’s a super beneficial thing to just talk. You don’t have to have something “wrong” with you in order to be seeing someone and talking to someone actively. And I think just finding small things to be proud of yourself for and to be happy about is super important. And one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to be gentle with yourself and be forgiving with yourself, which I think is very hard for a lot of people to do. I mean, it’s hard for me to do, but just like reminding yourself that you are trying your best and that’s all you can do sometimes.
What are your favorite places to eat in New Orleans?
Well, completely not Cajun cuisine or New Orleans cooking, but there’s a sushi restaurant that I’m in love with called Rock n Sake. There’s one right down the street from my house, which is a little bit dangerous because I get it so much. But there’s also a really good poboy place, right by my house called Bear’s, which is awesome and has wonderful roast beef poboys, bacon cheese fries, and fried pickles, so I highly recommend it.
What is your favorite parade?
It’s gotta be Krewe d’Etat. My dad rode in it for a while and I think so did my uncle. It just has some of the best art in it, and there is such a high energy during it from both the people in the crowd and the krewe. It’s just always been a really exciting parade.
So for the uninitiated, not from New Orleans, how many parades are there?
So many, probably too many. Even more than that because they have them going on in multiple cities. They have the Uptown parades, the Metairie parades, the Westbank parades, just all over the place. They’re going on basically straight for two weeks.
A little different this year, unfortunately…The Mardi Gras House Floats
Yeah. The house floats are pretty cool because a lot of, or not a lot, but a decent amount of them have gotten the like massive papier-mache flowers that would normally be on the sides of floats and they’ve put them on their houses. And a lot of them are just like really, really well done. There were also organizations hiring the usual float artists to create some really amazing house floats which was great because local artists who make their living off of Mardi Gras season were still able to make money by doing these. People obviously have spent a lot of time working on the houses, so I’m excited to go see them and see what people have done.
Jazz Fest, or Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras, a hundred percent.