Women in Technology Spotlight: Sandy Palaski

Senior software engineer

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I went to Illinois State University, where I double majored in International Business and Japanese Studies. Japanese Studies may seem random, but I was actually an exchange student living in Japan during high school. My first position in the IT industry was an internship with the company Advanta. I ended up working there for 11 years. Afterwards, I worked at Member Solutions, and now I’m working at Ascensus.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

Luckily, I’ve always known how important networking is. Some of my previous work associates ended up at Ascensus, so they were able to refer me here. I’ve been working here for almost 5 years.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

As you can probably tell from my major, I initially wasn’t interested in the field of technology. My first internship really exposed me to the industry, and I realized that IT was a good fit for me. IT was constantly evolving and I found it appealing to work in a field that was never dull.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

At Ascensus, I have met such a wide range of people. Every worker is different, whether it be their background, age, or nationality. We have some employees who just graduated college, and we have others who have been working here for over 20 years. We even have people like me who started as business majors and eventually discovered the IT industry. All of these different people give our company a fresh perspective.

What advice would you give someone who wants to land a job in the technology field?

Never lose your desire to learn. In a field that is constantly changing, you’ll always discover something you never knew before. Seek opportunities to continue learning.

What woman is your biggest inspiration and why?

I can’t name just one person! I’d have to say my mother, my grandmothers, and my sisters all influenced me in extremely different ways.

Did anyone or anything help you to get to where you are today?

My sister helped me get to where I am today. She was the reason that I got my first internship with Advanta, and now she also works in Ascensus’ IT department. We work on different teams, but it’s nice having a support system in my work environment.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save?

Each project we work on has its own goal, but in the end these projects contribute to the company’s overall goal of helping people save for life’s biggest events. Everything we do is intended to help others save for their futures.