|DC/Marvel: Age of Infinite Heroes|
Karina Spencer is a student at MIT, working on her Master's degree.
Karina grew up in a quaint little suburb in Massachusetts. Her father was in IT (working for a shell company of AIM) and her mother was an architect. Although neither particularly shown in their own fields, they were quite competent.
Computers were a familiar thing in their house, and Karina showed an aptitude early, which her father encouraged - excited that his daughter took an interest in his field. She seemed to have an affinity for anything technical and it allowed the two to bond.
Kari, as her parents called her, would frequently be found in front of the computer, though it wasn't computer games that captured the girl's interest, at least not directly. It was what she could do with them - behind the scenes. She found ways to tweak, and discovered if she changed a few characters in the 'code', it would change things in the game.
Her mother worried that Karina was spending too much time in front of a computer screen, and encouraged the girl to get outside and run around more, wanting her to make friends. It wasn't easy, but with a little encouragement, she found a few kids in the neighborhood to get along with.
Problem was, none of the 'cool' kids were interested in computers - which she found out quickly enough. She learned quickly, and started paying more attention to what they /were/ interested in.
A few slip ups, followed by pretty harsh slap downs by her peers made it crystal clear what she had to do. It surprised her father, but Kari became the proverbial girly girl.
If she had her ideal world, she would never have to interact with anything other than her computer and gadgets, but she discovered survival in school relied upon being popular.
Her mother tried to get her to be more physically active, but many of the sports available just didn't interest her. They both finally settled on gymnastics, which ended up suiting her well. She was petite and limber, and had developed a fearless streak which meant she was willing to try just about anything - at least once.
The gymnastics was a great precursor which helped her when it came to trying out for cheerleading. She started early, and by the time she reached high school she was an easy choice for the squad. While she didn't have what it took to become head cheerleader - not wanting to have that particular spotlight or carry the weight of that responsibility - if she'd made a play for it, the only thing that would have kept her from it is the influence of the most popular girl in school who wanted it for herself. Instead, she was the head cheerleaders right hand girl.
When the opportunity arose in elementary school, her mother pushed her to take up an instrument, but let her choose which instrument she wanted to play. She chose the violin, and soon discovered that it was a great outlet for her when she found herself stumped by a problem and give her mind a chance to do something else... and the answer would soon come to her.
She hid her true passion from her 'friends', and in her spare time she would sit down with books she'd checked out from the library, teaching herself coding languages. She even managed to get her hands on more than a few 'extraneous' items her Dad had lying around, and took them apart, just to see how they worked. About half the time, she was able to put them back together so they worked just as well as they did before she took them apart. The other half of the time, they worked better.
For her sixteenth birthday, the only thing she asked for were computer components so she could build her own, custom desktop.
While her mother didn't have nearly as much input when it came to her passion, Karina discovered her mother's knowledge in the way of design - even if it did pertain to buildings - could be useful in putting her own ideas down on paper.
It was her 7th grade year when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. They discovered it at stage 1, and were quick to start radiation treatment in an attempt to preserve her breasts. The treatment appeared to be successful.
High school turned out to be a 'shark tank' and her desire to fit in and be counted amongst the popular crowd - mostly to avoid being the brunt of bullying - was high. Her parents didn't bring home enough to outfit her in all the latest fashions, or get her the coolest purse or other accessories. The 'need' was so strong, it pushed her to try her hand at shoplifting, and found she was pretty adept at it.
A few years later, the cancer returned. Karina felt helpless when it came to her mother's illness, but the one thing she could do, she fell back on. It didn't heal her mother, but the design she came up with was intended to help keep her mother company while her father was at work, and she was at school. It would fetch things for her, make sure she took her medicine on time, and if an emergency arose, contact 911.
The miniature robot looked great on paper, but making her dream a reality would have been costly. She was able to pick up a few things on her own, but when the opportunity to visit Daddy's work, and her ability with 'sleight-of-hand', enabled her to acquire a few more high tech items to make the little helper a reality.
The next few years ended up being a losing battle, as the cancer had metastasized, spreading to her lungs and liver. By the time Karina was ready to enter high school, she and her father were attending her mother's funeral. Young Karina played her violin at the funeral.
She kept a lock of her mother's hair, stowing it away within a 'secret' compartment of the little helper robot. Something to keep close to her that was a part of her mother. From that time on, the robot become more of a best friend to her than any human being. She tweaked the robot, and continues to improve and upgrade it whenever she gets the chance.
She was an all around student, participating in cheerleading (after gymnastics), getting straight A's (graduated valedictorian of her class - which made her extremely uncomfortable having to give the speech), involved in the high school orchestra and participating in the school's dramatic performances (stage crew and assistant student director) all four years of high school.
Although she was well aware of Tony Stark and his accomplishments, his reputation soured her as far as looking up to the man. He was brilliant, but it was such a waste the way he lived his life. Instead, she chose to look up to Reed Richards.
After graduation, she had her pick of scholarships and grants, with cheerleading, grades and the arts. Her choice of schools led her to MIT. There, she didn't need to downplay her intelligence, and while she kept up her cheerleading, she began to focus more on the passion in her life.
College life has been a major adjustment for Karina, but she's adapting well to the newfound freedoms and need for self-discipline.
Adaptable - Karina has learned to be adaptable - for survival. She's attentive to her surroundings and tries to pick up cues as to what's most advantageous to get through the situation successfully.
Adventurous - While not entirely fearless, Karina is willing to try just about anything once. If she gets hurt, as long as it's not too bad, she gets up, brushes herself off, and tries again.
Indomitable Spirit - Karina is not one easily discouraged or subdued. Even when faced with adversity, she refuses to believe that's the end of the line, and looks for other avenues to move forward to reach her goals.
Ingenious - She tends to be clever and creative, being able to think out of the box.