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New Crew Member: Kyla Harper

Published December 14, 2018

As a regular attendee at MadRailers and Madison Women in Tech, Kyla was acquainted with several crew members before applying

It comes as no surprise, then, that she's quickly integrated into the team over the last few weeks. We especially value her sincerity, aplomb and intelligence, and are excited to have on-board as our new support engineer!

Read on to learn about samgyeopsal, competitive ballroom dancing and her ideal Sunday afternoon.

What brought you to Ten Forward?

"I was looking for a job change where I’d be closer to doing web development. One of the things that attracted me to coming to Ten Forward, specifically, was having been here for meetups, and especially the panel you all did where you talked about your experiences as women in tech, and how you talked about marginalized communities. It made me feel like this could be a place where I would be respected for who I am, and accepted." 

What are you looking forward to learning or doing in your new position?

"I'm looking forward to learning more about how I can grow my career as a web developer and learn things I haven’t had exposure to, like assessing what a client needs versus what they want, and helping them get to what they need. So looking forward to learning more about the trade, instead of just the technology. 

Not only that, but I feel like Ten Forward would be a  place where I can be able to contribute more to the community, in terms of sharing my skillset and teaching others."

You’ve lived several different places. What's one of your favorites?

"I really liked Eau Claire. I went to school there and I learned a ton of things, and grew my interests in terms of what career I wanted to do and what I like to do in my spare time, like ballroom dancing."

Hold up - you’ve done competitive ballroom dancing?

Kyla laughs.

"So I started in college, and I did it for like 10 years, competing about half that time. For the most part, people were very nice. The community I was in was very supportive; I wasn’t out (as a trans woman) then, so it might be a different experience now. 

But I would meet people all the time, and see their faces everywhere, and we would chat. My favorite dances were grouped in a set called 'International Standard,' which includes waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, tango and quickstep."

What is your perfect Sunday afternoon?

"One of many different ways Sunday could be perfect is bright sunny day, 70 degrees, breezy, and going hiking or hanging out by a lake. The key thing is that it’s a sunny day. I love sunny days." 

Last meal: GO!

"Panera. I think it was a turkey, avocado and bacon club sandwich, with chicken noodle soup."

I stare at Kyla for a second, confused - Panera is oddly specific (and kind of basic) for your last meal on earth. Then I realize she thought I mean the last meal she ate!

"Oh, I can definitely name what I'd want for a last meal," she says with a laugh. "It would be a Korean dish, just because I'm Korean. And it would be samgyeopsal. It’s basically an amalgam of lettuce, rice, this Korean spicy paste called gochujang, and pork belly."

What’s something about you that people might find surprising?

"That I’m Korean! Some people can’t pick up that I’m Asian, because somewhere in my lineage somewhere, there’s a part that’s indigenous, and people tend to pick up a lot more on that than my Korean-ness. It’s like 1/16 and the Korean part is, like, 1/2, and culturally, I was raised in Korean communities, not any others. So it's a part of who I am, but it’s not a part of my upbringing, so it’s not an identity that I claim." 

Fill in the blanks: "If I could only __ one __ for the rest of my life, it would be __."

"If I could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of my life, it would be house. If I could only do one recreational activity for the rest of my life, it would be dancing."

Favorite board game or video game, TV show or movie, band or musician, emoji.

Favorite game: Stardew Valley
Favorite TV show: "Steven Universe"
Favorite band: Royksopp
Favorite emoji: ❤️

Star Trek or Star Wars?

"Star Trek." 

Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Co-Owner and Senior Software Developer