Alexa Monn, a junior-year IT management and German major, has been enticed by technology for a long time. “I’ve always loved playing with gadgets and figuring things out,” she says. “I’m kind of like my dad in that regard. He may not know how to solve a tech problem, but he’ll fake it until he makes it. I’m the same way. I may not know the answer right away, but I like the process of figuring it out.”
At first Monn thought she would study human relations because she liked the idea of helping people with their problems. “It wasn’t until I was hearing about careers that ITM majors had gotten after college that I realized I could get that same fulfillment while adding my interest in technology,” she says. “I like the idea of being a translator between the developers and the clients, those who get the tech side and those who get the business side. My ITM degree gives me a nice introduction to that.”
Her confidence and comfort with technology comes naturally — Monn’s just following her nose. She’s well aware of the gender gap that still exists in technological fields: The National Center for Women & Information Technology reported in 2014 that women hold only 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the U.S. workforce. But Monn is optimistic that times may be changing.
Her optimism was reinforced when she won a much coveted IT internship at Textron Systems Marine and Land Systems last summer. She appreciated how the Slidell, Louisiana, division of Textron Inc. employed a wealth of female role models. Five of the 11 IT staff, including her supervisor and manager, were women. That Textron Inc.’s CIO also is a woman was inspiring.
With Kool-Aid-colored red hair, Monn, a native of Rosemount, Minnesota, is as at home on the stage as she is in front of a computer. “In high school I was in a grand total of 15 shows, directed two, and did backstage work for an additional three,” she says. “I pretty much was always there.” At Notre Dame, she was cast both in the musical, Cabaret, and the drama, Blood Wedding, in her freshman year. In 2015 she’s taking it a little easier — working in the costume department and appearing only in an opera.
Which is not to say that Alexa Monn ever takes it easy. This January, she will begin a two-month IT internship with the Textron company, Kautex, in Bonn, Germany. Kautex manufactures vehicle fuel systems. “I’m excited for the opportunity because I’ll be based in Bonn. But because I’m working with the shop-floor system, I’ll get to go around to their different factories in Germany and in Europe,” Monn says, adding that she expects to get a firsthand, of the direct effect IT has on the product. “I’ll also get to see how people work in different countries and how they approach their problems. It will be a good introduction to living abroad.” And that’s the next thing she intends to do. When her internship finishes, she’ll stay in Germany for a six-week intensive language course followed by a study-abroad semester in Berlin. She doesn’t expect to be back in the States until August. No word yet on when she expects to be able to take a deep breath.