Team Bio: Katie Sullivan (AccessComputing News - January 2012)

Katie Sullivan, AccessComputing Team Member

Hi, my name's Katie and in Fall 2011 I started working full-time at Microsoft as a Program Manager on the Office User Experience team. I graduated from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in May 2011 with a BS in Engineering: Computing.

Olin's strong focus on design and innovative thinking has helped me with my job here at Microsoft. I joined my team in the middle of the product cycle, meaning everything was fast-paced and I needed to work hard to catch up. Over time I began to own more features, working on "feature crews" (with developers and testers) to improve various aspects of the product, make critical decisions, and design solutions to problems. I wish I could talk in detail about the cool and exciting things I am working on… but they'll be seen eventually!

I'm deaf and primarily lip-read which means that it can be hard to follow key conversations in big meetings at work. Luckily my coworkers and boss are very accommodating, and always help to make sure I know what's going on. My boss in particular works hard to make sure I feel I am not missing out on anything and that I am not held back by anything as trivial as mishearing someone in a meeting. I've never worked anywhere where it was so easy to request captioning or other services to make sure I could do my job well.

Working at Microsoft and living in Seattle has been all I could ask for and more. I interned here two summers ago at the University of Washington, working with Richard Ladner and Anna Cavender on a computer science research internship. That summer I was engaged in the Summer Academy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computer Science at UW and also became a member of AccessComputing. With these communities I made many connections and it was my first real introduction to Deaf culture. Now that I'm back in Seattle I love being close to this community again. This may mean I'll actually get good at signing now!