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Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson

Coterminal MS candidate, Computer Science
Story originally published on Apr 2021
My path to engineering started when I was 9 and went to see the movie ‘Iron Man’ with my family.

Seeing a story about a character who could invent a new technology and then use it to change the world in a positive way struck a chord with me. After I got into Stanford, I knew I wanted to major in engineering so that I could develop skills that I could use to help people. As an incoming first-year student, I participated in the Stanford Summer Engineering Academy, which is designed to support students who have been systemically marginalized in engineering. That program gave me the chance to see the rigor here, to really be challenged, and to find mentors who guided me. For myself and a lot of minority students here at Stanford, we’re the few in every field we enter. Going into a lot of my STEM classes, I’m the only Black or BIPOC/student of color. I just had my first Black professor during this last quarter of my undergraduate education at Stanford. The first Black teacher I’ve ever had in my life. It can be daunting and disheartening to be in a space where you don’t see others who look like you, but I also see this as an opportunity to create change.

I came to Stanford thinking I was just going to do my own thing; put my head down, get through classes and graduate. But as I’ve started doing internships at corporations, I’ve seen firsthand the lack of diversity in the tech world, and related problems in tech investing and venture funding. This is something I can’t shake off. I don’t know yet exactly which avenue I’m going to take, but starting in the fall, I’m doing a stint in management consulting in New York to get more business and financial acumen to go with my tech background. There are only so many seats at the table, and I want to help create more equality within these fields. Someone’s got to do this; why not me?

Even if I don’t take a traditional engineering path and build actual products, I want to apply my engineering problem-solving skills and the tech and business experience I gain to find ways to support the creation of more broad representation in the tech world.  

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