Silicon Valley and the other bigger states for technology companies have been stereotyped over the past years. After Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, “women in tech” is not really a familiar term in this territory.
At the same time, it is even harder to associate disabled people in this fast-paced industry that is ever-changing. However, all of those barriers were shut down by the amazing Jordyn Castor, an Apple engineer who is both female and blind.
Jordyn Castor was born 15 weeks early, and she was so small that her grandfather could hold her in his hand and slide his wedding ring on her tiny arms. At that time, the doctors told Castor’s family that there is very little chance of survival. Little did they know that Castor would carve her name in our modern-day workforce.
— iDownloadBlog (@iDownloadBlog) July 11, 2016
With limited opportunities and expectations, Castor still pursued to prove everyone wrong. At 22, she defied the expectations not only for women in general but also for disabled people all over the world.
Jordyn Castor was curious at the very beginning. This was the reason why she got really inclined with technology. It was the different open possibilities of technology that excited her. Since she was young, she was known to meddle and experiment on any computers they had at home.
Castor continued her curiosity in school. The good thing about Castor’s experience was that her teachers encouraged her passion. Adults would hand her different gadgets so she could explore how to use them.
It was as if being blind was not her priority. Jordyn Castor just wanted to learn about technology as much as she could. Her perseverance paid off.
“I realized then I could code on the computer to have it fulfill the tasks I wanted it to,” says Castor, whose current work focuses on enhancing features like VoiceOver for blind Apple users. “I came to realize that with my knowledge of computers and technology, I could help change the world for people with disabilities.”
“I could help make technology more accessible for blind users.”
Since Castor is blind, it was more helpful for the development of the feature. She can test it out herself and determine if it would be a good fit for people with disabilities.
Graduating from the Michigan State University, Castor had her first encounter with Apple back in 2015. She attended a job fair there knowing that Apple would be one of the big companies who are ready to offer anyone a position in the company. At the time, Castor said she was nervous.
“You aren’t going to know unless you try. You aren’t going to know unless you to them… so go.”
Castor, though nervous, did her best to portray her massive knowledge about Apple and its products. She told the Apple representatives that she was particularly keen about the iPad that she received during her 17th birthday. She was impressed with iPad’s accessibility that it made her more passionate about technology. She thought technology could mend the gap between the world and the disabled people.
Jordyn Castor, without a doubt, has impressed Apple’s representatives at the time. Her internship is coming to a close, but Castor has shown everyone that tech and engineering careers can be available to anyone if they try. She is also proud of her connection to the disabled community and said that she hopes to inspire younger people to move forward.
“I’m directly impacting the lives of the blind community,” she says of her work. “It’s incredible.”