Team Q&A – Emily Coleman – QA Engineer

Emily Coleman takes her craft seriously, whether that’s in art, gardening, or as a QA Engineer! Emily manages her climate anxiety by pitching in the fight for environmental equity and the just transition, both at home, professionally, and through her advocacy.  Join us in welcoming Emily to the Virtual Peaker team!

How did your previous life prepare you for Virtual Peaker? 

My first passion in life was art, and I originally attended college with the intention of becoming a mixed media artist. The throughlines that intrigued me about the arts and continue to hold my interest in tech/sustainability are: I get to be inquisitive, and I can use these mediums as tools to effect change. I really enjoy being curious and creative, especially when the outcome results in positive results for the earth and my community.

Tell us about your role at Virtual Peaker. 

I originally applied for the Software Developer Intern position, but after Virtual Peaker reviewed my resume it was suggested I might be a better fit for the Quality Assurance Intern position. At that time I wasn’t very familiar with what exactly a QA role would mean, but I’m so glad this suggestion was made because as it turns out: I really love QA!

After 12 weeks as a QA intern, I was honored to be offered the permanent role of QA Engineer. I spend my days making sure that all of our code integrates as desired, and investigating anything unexpected that comes up.  I get to be curious and explore mysterious issues. I also get to code when I build automated tests, which is fun and satisfying. QA tasks include a balance of many workflows which keeps me on my toes and challenges me every day. The cherry on top is knowing that I’m helping our product perform at its best! This translates directly to helping fight the climate crisis and helps everyday people and their utilities easily make earth-friendly choices.

How do you personally engage in sustainability efforts? 

Climate anxiety is a heavy burden in my life. I try to do all that I can to avoid adding to the current climate crisis. I know individual actions can be a drop in the bucket, but I feel that every action counts because I am not an island! My habits and choices have ripple effects on my community. I can say with confidence that my individual actions have been noticed and incorporated by many people and institutions I interact with.  I have found that one sustainable action often leads to another whether that’s in my own life or in the lives of those around me. It’s super fun, satisfying, and frankly kind of addictive!

All that being said, the list of personal sustainability efforts I engage in is long but here are some examples:

Things I’m working on: Meat production has a huge impact on the climate, but the switch to vegetarianism has been a hard one for me! After slowly eating more and more vegetarian over the last several years (it’s all about the baby steps, personal sustainability is important too!) I have decided to officially go full veg next year. I’m giving my family and friends (and let’s face it myself too) some lead time to process and prepare. I have a lot of meat lovers in my life, and up to this point, there haven’t been a lot of vegetarian options at get-togethers!

I’m also trying to be better at being more civically involved. I’ve always been a diligent voter, but I’m trying to work on calling and writing to my representatives directly as well. I’ve been told by several sources that this makes a huge impact on climate crisis-related decisions being made within the government.

What can you tell us about yourself?

My biggest hobby right now is gardening. I have a small property close to the city center of Louisville, but I try to make use of every inch of dirt that I can. I even garden in the little strip of earth between the street and the sidewalk! Our total lot size is 3049 square feet or 0.07 acres, but I have a hummingbird garden in my backyard, a native pollinator garden in my front yard, and a vegetable garden in my side yard. I have a backyard compost bin made of old wooden pallets, and I also keep a bin of worms in my cellar for vermicomposting.  

Creating my own compost makes my plants grow wild! Recently my neighbors on either side of me have started to let me garden in their yards too, so my square footage of gardening space is increasing. I find so much joy in watching plants grow, seeing all the creatures that thrive off of them, enjoying the literal fruits of my labor (I have four fruit trees and several berry bushes!), and seeing the joy my garden brings to my neighbors too.

Looking to help us change the world?

Join Our Team

About The Author
Bill Burke blog author

Bill is a serial entrepreneur with a PhD from UC Berkeley in Controls and Artificial Intelligence and 10 years of experience with high performance residential energy management and connected appliances. He was previously at GE as an Advanced Systems Engineer in the Connected Home Software Group, but left that role in May 2014 to pursue entrepreneurship full time. Bill grew up in Louisville and returned with his family in 2010 after a long stint in the San Francisco Bay Area. He loves Louisville and is working to make it a better and more attractive city for high tech startups.

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