College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Saffron Edwards: “I enjoy encouraging young women to enter computing fields and witnessing the progress of my fellow women in STEM.”  

Saffron Edwards
Saffron Edwards

How has Iowa State supported your passions and interests in engineering – and outside of engineering?

Iowa State offers a dedicated software engineering program, with dedicated support. But at the same time, engineering courses push you to explore past your designated program to let you find your interests in the field – and how you can use them. And in my first month, my brother was born, so it’s been nice to be able to go home when I want.

Plus, I’m in some fun activities like Orchesis II, WiSE, and as a resident assistant, I get to interact and help new STEM women residents get acclimated.

How has being in Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) been valuable to you?

Becoming a WiSE student role model my freshman year has really been a rewarding aspect. My position allows me to inspire K-12 classrooms and facilitate hands-on STEM activities. I enjoy encouraging young middle and high school women to enter computing fields and witnessing the progress of my fellow women in STEM and advancement of resources available to us as a less-represented group in engineering.

Plus, there’s always the free tutoring, lectures and just a space I’ve made friends and built life skills with. All women are automatically enrolled in WiSE and it’s certainly been amazing in providing equitable resources plus networking opportunities.

What has attending the Grace Hopper Conference opened your eyes to?

I interviewed with a few companies at Grace Hopper because, think of it similar to a career expo dedicated to women… that gives an incredible view of what it looks like to be a minority in a tech-computing field.

The conference solely focused on software engineering and typical digital women majors, which is a major opportunity for women in engineering. I know what the opportunities look like at Iowa State and WiSE, but seeing what it looks like nationwide was definitely next level.

What’s your proudest accomplishment as an Iowa Stater?

I did three internships at Nationwide Insurance, twice as a software engineering intern and once as a quality engineering intern, which were meaningful experiences for me to see the industry first-hand. I was so proud when some production code I was working on during my internship had actually been published and is now accessible to the public on the Nationwide website.

That’s led me to accepting a full-time offer with Nationwide as a software engineer after I graduate.

How have you grown from the beginning of your time on campus to now as you’re about to graduate?

As a student, I’ve come to realize the value in some classes that I didn’t see while I was doing them. They were building that resilience and big picture that’s needed to be an engineer. 

As a person, through my positions and the life experiences I’ve gained outside the classroom, there’s definitely been a change in who I am and what my priorities are. The most important thing I’ve learned is to accept change because you’re always growing, so don’t be afraid of what may lie ahead.