It only took one class in computers for business and Rachel Laub knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Since that pivotal moment in eighth grade, she hasn’t stopped working to reach her goals.
Laub completed three certifications in information technology, received the Sterling Scholar Philo T. Farnsworth Governor's Award and won the National Center for Women & Information Technology award for aspirations in computing — all before she even started college.
Now, Laub has one more line on her list of accomplishments. She is one of three finalists for Utah’s Women Tech Council’s Student Pathway Award, which is given to college students who have shown outstanding service or outreach in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“Some of the people who have won this award in the past are my role models,” Laub said. “It’s hard to imagine my achievements being comparable to theirs, but maybe one day, I could be someone else’s role model too.”
Laub is a junior majoring in computer science with a double minor in fashion merchandising and entrepreneurship — a seemingly unusual combination. For her, though, it’s the perfect mix to set the foundation for a future in software engineering and fashion design.
Outside of class, Laub is active in the Society of Women Engineers club and the Science, Technology, Engineering Programs club. She is also a WSU Ambassador representing the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology (EAST). Lastly, she has an internship with the WSU Admissions Office, where she works with the system that tracks data for incoming students.
She does it all because she loves it, but she also does it to show that young women can excel in computer science. “I hope I plant a seed that STEM is an option for everyone,” Laub said.
“There are millions of jobs that aren’t filled just because people aren’t going into STEM. I want to show people that it’s my passion, and it can be their passion too.”
Laub has a clear plan for her future — it has been that way since she was young — and she knows what it will take to get there.
“I want to start off as a software engineer, and I really want to work for Google,” she said. “I’d also like to work on the management side of computer science. Then I want to become a mom and start my fashion career and clothing company.”
In preparation, she’s already lining up internships for next semester, searching for opportunities that will fully immerse her in computer science. She is also researching and planning ways to reach students in elementary schools and junior high, promoting work in technology and showing them the career possibilities. Laub is used to going above and beyond. Professors and faculty who work with her say that’s part of what makes her a great candidate for the Student Pathway Award.
“Rachel has distinguished herself within the Weber State School of Computing and the broader university community as an excellent, dedicated student,” said Brian Rague, EAST associate dean. “She is someone who extends a helping hand to both her peers and high school or non-traditional students seeking a potential career path in STEM. The WSU School of Computing is proud and honored to have Rachel as part of our department.”
Laub’s next step as a Student Pathway Finalist is an interview with three judges from the community. The final award recipient will be announced during the Women’s Tech Award Luncheon, Oct. 24 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake.
Regardless of the outcome, Laub said she is grateful for everyone who thinks she is deserving. Out of the 25+ nominated students from universities throughout the state, she stood out.
“Rachel is an excellent example of setting goals and working hard to achieve them,” said Pat DeJong, EAST academic advisor. “When I was a new advisor in the School of Computing, she was one of my first appointments. She was still in high school, and I was immediately impressed with her confidence and ambitions.” That ambitious attitude, combined with loving what she does, is what drives Laub to do the best she can while making a positive impact on others.
“I’ve really found what I want to do,” she said. “When I was young, someone put that in my heart, and I would like to do that for others too.”