The School of Business and Computer Science recently hosted Comput/her, an annual one-day conference that invites young women in high school to explore career opportunities in computing and data science. The event featured Curry students, alumni, faculty and staff, and nearly 60 high school students from surrounding communities.
Participants heard inspirational stories from successful women in the field, attended workshops run by female college students and recent graduates, and participated in collaborative, hands-on, skill-building activities.
In Dr. Jennifer McNally’s welcome address, she expressed to the participants, “When you talk with the mentors, I hope you find glimmers of similarities and you recognize that people like you – people like us – didn’t have it all figured out at your age or stage, but we did have a drive to be successful and we surrounded ourselves with people who cared about us and kept pushing us forward, onward, and upward.”
Reham Eldahrawy ’21, Brittany Williamson ‘21, and Accursia Carbo ’21 ran hands-on workshops and delivered the keynote address, sharing how they’ve grown and developed in their early careers while taking advantage of further learning, networking, and leadership opportunities. The audience also drew inspiration from workshops featuring female pioneers in the industry, including Maura Wilder, Vice President of Engineering at Metallicus, Inc., and Veronica Payan, Technical Specialist Leader/Manager at Microsoft.
“Inspiring young women in tech is very near and dear to my heart,” said Williamson, Software Engineer II at Citizens Bank. “As a software engineer in a male-dominated field, having more women in STEM is something I’m always advocating for. Even now in my corporate role, I lead a Women in Tech group where female colleagues come together to share and learn knowledge and experiences. Forming this group has been a very rewarding experience for me.”
Speaking on why she was motivated to hold this annual conference, Dr. McNally commented, “When I look back, I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have the mentors in my life that I did. I feel as though it’s my duty to my mentors that I pay it forward and support young women to recognize and reach their full potential. The young women who joined us are so gifted, and I hope that the connections they make with us, our alumni, and each other help them see just how much they can contribute to the world and our future.”