Tess DiStefano had such fondness for geometry that when her geometry teacher began to teach a computer science class, she couldn’t wait to take it. Sure enough, his teaching sparked her passion for technology, and she knew she had found her calling. One that would lead her on an amazing adventure through college filled with many internships. Her grit powered her to earn a BS and master’s degree in five years.
As a second-generation Cuban American in Philadelphia, she did not have the guidance others may have had to pursue a career in tech. When she enrolled at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Tess made it a habit to meet as many students as possible in her computer lab. She eventually made friends with someone along the way who encouraged her to apply for a Microsoft internship. Self-doubt and a case of imposter syndrome may have crept in, but her friend reassured her, and told her to be herself. She took the advice and applied. Always prepared, Tess nailed her internship interview with the Microsoft team. By the time Tess finished her second internship, she had committed to a fulltime position with Microsoft once she finished college.
What Tess loves most about CSE is how engineering excellence is valued as more than just programming. Engineering fundamentals means using whatever tools you have at your disposal, to ensure that the development work you do closes the gap between where you are and where you need to be. Tess appreciates how her team will create a set of goals with clear direction to provide the most impact for the customer.
The first time she was the point person for a customer, she worked with a startup to create a bot to remind people to schedule time for health and wellness using Microsoft Graph. She was able to help their team come up with streamlined solutions to ensure all end users were taken care of. Seeing her work amplify her customer and touch so many people’s lives for the better gives Tess great pride, and she cherishes this project. For her, there is no greater satisfaction than seeing her work create change in the world with the support of Microsoft’s platforms.
Tess is passionate about encouraging others like her to take a leap of faith and dream big. Come as you are and be okay that you may feel uncomfortable learning new ways to work. Because at Microsoft, this is a big part of how you contribute to a team and have a place in the Microsoft family alongside her.