TBT: Dee Kapila
Throwback Thursday – To commemorate the 10th year of SXTXState, each Thursday we’ll be featuring past participants in the project. Check back each Thursday until SXSW to find out what SXTXState alumni remember from their time with the project and what they are up to now.
In 2008, Dee Kapila graduated from Texas State University with her Master’s in Mass Communications with a concentration in New Media, which is now known as Digital Media. In the Spring of 2008, Kapila participated in the SXTXState project which was the year the project was born.
Kapila was not given a certain position or job but everyone was responsible to write about panels they attended, get interviews, and spread to cover different things to put on the website they created. Because this was the first year of the SXTXState project, the group didn’t have a full week pass like we do now, they only had two days each.
The greatest part of SXSW for Kapila was covering topics that she was not entirely comfortable with, “You might cover different areas of tech that you’re not as comfortable with and on different levels of experience,” Kapila said. She mainly wanted to cover things that she wasn’t familiar with to interpret trends to other people that were at her level of knowledge.
Kapilas favorite part of the conference was the exposure that she had to many different companies, “It’s like you’re in the middle of it all, like in Silicon Valley,” Kapila said. She also enjoyed playing with all of the technology that was available, the experience of using that technology, and just the conference overall.
Today, Kapila is a manager and functional architect at Visa in Austin, TX and believes that her experience reporting SXSW during her graduate school career impacted the work that she does today. She works around emerging technologies and programming processes that she was introduced to at SXSW, she realized that there is a rapid growth and change of technology in the environment, because of SXSW she pursues roles and positions that she wouldn’t have pursued before, and she learned that you need to be comfortable around the people and the companies that they work for.
After her experience at SXSW interactive in 2008, the next year Kapila was the head of her own panel titled “Gaming as a Gateway Drug: Getting Girls Interested in STEM”. That was not her last experience with SXSW either. Kapila has participated in panels for SXSW several times throughout the years since her time at Texas State University as well as other conferences.
Through all of her success and experience, Kapila has advice for those who are in graduate school and participating in the SXTXState project:
- If you don’t understand something then research it and learn more about it.
- Think about the panels you want to attend, then try to go to them, and once you go, think about doing your own panel.