I met Gillian Reynolds at Girl Develop It’s Coffee and Code event.
She moved to Delaware to work for DuPont in 1995 upon coming out of grad school at MIT. A physicist by training, she was what DuPont called a Research Investigator: she experimented on different materials, learned about their properties and figured out how she could purpose them for an end product.
After the shakeup at DuPont about a year ago, Reynolds decided to stay in Delaware because of all the usual suspects: it’s small and quiet but still close to major U.S. cities. That’s also when she decided to explore her interest in coding.
“If I didn’t try it, [coding] would definitely be a ‘what if,'” Reynolds said. “I want to try it and see where it goes.”
She’s always had an interest in coding. She recalled experiences in grad school where coding always contributed an element to her lab work.
“Whenever you had to do experiments, you had to do some sort of programming to get your equipment to talk,” she said. “You have to ramp up a current or voltage, you program the interface, run this current X times and you let it do the work.”
Earlier this year, Reynolds attended Big Nerd Ranch in Atlanta — an immersive, tucked-away camp in Atlanta’s rural outskirts where she learned iOS Swift. Reynolds spent one week there and is now working on practicing simple concepts by building simple apps, here and there.
“Now I’m trying to make sure I practice what I learned,” she said. “You just have to start with simple examples. The idea is to keep practicing so it doesn’t go away.”
In a way, her old career is quite similar to her new interest: there’s a lot of testing, a lot of practicing and a lot of exploring.