Being a role model for Techsploration.

July 3, 2024

“Follow your passion, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” they say. For Terri-Lynn Tran, this couldn’t be truer. Her love for technology began when her family bought their first home computer, a Commodore 64, in the 1980s. Since then, her skills and passion have taken her from remote Newfoundland and Labrador to sunny Silicon Valley and now to Nova Scotia, which she calls home.


Last year, she added a new component to her web manager duties, as she was selected to be REDspace’s woman-in-tech role model for youth participating in the Techsploration program.


Techsploration, a community partner of REDspace, aims to provide young women and non-binary youth in grades 9-12 with programming and opportunities to explore science, engineering, trades and technology. Helping youth engage with careers in sectors where women and non-binary individuals are traditionally underrepresented, they can grow their career aspirations and learn why math and science education is crucial to their future success.


Designed in multiple phases, Techsploration first “goes to work,” where students are assigned a role model in science, engineering, trade, or technology occupations. Students will visit their role models, learn about the industry, and participate in hands-on activities. The next phase is the Techsploration conference. At the conference, students and their role models will share what they learned during the site visits and compete for the best presentation award. Once the conference is done, the program’s graduates can attend the final phase—an alumni conference held each October.


“It was awesome being chosen as REDspace’s role model,” says Tran. “Getting to plan the office visit and activities was fun, but seeing the students really care about developing their presentation and sharing what they learned was amazing.”

Tran credits the Techsploration program for providing students with a safe space to ask questions and try their hand at skills development. Throughout the program, Tran engaged with students during site visits and the conference, where she was able to give insight into what it’s like to be a woman working in tech.


“They had a lot of questions for me,” says Tran. “Everything from how much you make and what you love most about your job to what wakes you up in the morning.”At their age, there are a million possibilities for what they can do, and it’s [Techsploration] a good opportunity to learn about the types of workplaces they can work in, the types of colleagues they can have and see what they might want out of a career.”


Tran feels fortunate to have grown up in a supportive environment where she always believed she could do whatever she wanted, but she knows that’s not always the case for women and non-binary individuals. Early in her career, working in a predominantly male industry, she never let her gender or misogyny get in the way of her work. Today, she is proud to work at REDspace, an employer she specifically sought out when she wanted to return to Canada.


“REDspace had such a great reputation not only for their work but for their supportive and welcoming culture.”


Tran notes that there was no shortage of women supporting women during the office visits or the conference. Her colleagues at REDspace and Techsploration championed and cheered each other on throughout the day, something that she knows is important for youth to see.


When asked what she hopes to accomplish as a role model, Tran was earnest in her reply, “I want these girls and youth to know you can do anything. You have to follow your passion. If you are following your passion, you may also get the opportunity to choose the right workplace.”