Theodora Pajaczkowska

Position: Senior Consultant – Product Design and UX Development, Essextec, A Converge Company

How did you get started in the technology sector?

I was first introduced to computer science when applying to college. My favorite subjects in high school were math, art, and physics, so I searched for a degree that would allow me to study all three. I applied to the Digital Media Design program at the University of Pennsylvania (the only engineering major that required an art portfolio as part of the application) and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree with an art minor.

What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?

My aunt is an illustrator and was an early adopter of Adobe products. She taught me how to use Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet at a young age. I’d already been creating digital art for 20+ years when I first used an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and it still blew my mind. It captured the look and feel of drawing with a real pencil in a way that I had never seen before. In my fee time, I use it to sketch.

What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?

Building strong relationships with my clients, based on trust and empathy, is incredibly important to me so I was honored to win the Essextec 2018 Professional Services Stand-Out Award and the 2019 Outstanding Project Team Award.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to highlight the accomplishments of Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Barik, Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, and Frances Bilas Spence. In 1946, these women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC, a project financed by the U.S. Army in Philadelphia as part of a secret World War II initiative. These women learned to program without programming languages or tools (none existed at the time)—only logical diagrams. By the time they were finished, ENIAC ran a ballistics trajectory—a differential calculus equation—in seconds. Yet, when the ENIAC was unveiled to the press and the public in 1946, the women were never introduced; they remained invisible.

I highly recommend the documentary The Computers, to learn more about how these women revolutionized programming without receiving any credit for their contributions.

What is your favorite part about working in technology?

Programming and building applications have always appealed to that same part of my brain that loves to create art. Drafting, iterating on an idea, and constructing a final result, is incredibly satisfying—whether it’s an animation, an application, or a Christmas sweater.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to travel, draw, bake, listen to audiobooks, and recommend restaurants to family, friends, and coworkers.

What is your favorite quote?

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show…”
– Ada Lovelace, creator of the first computer program in history, in a letter to Charles Babbage, ~1843