On Friday, October 5, the College of Computing & Informatics’ (CCI) newest class of women and freshman transfer students gathered in the Bossone Research Enterprise Center Atrium for a welcoming reception. CCI faculty, professional staff and student leaders socialized with the new cohort of students over lively music and hors d’oeuvres.
The event opened with a welcome address from Michelle Rogers, PhD, associate professor of information science and Women in Tech Initiative director. Rogers’ address was followed by a video featuring members of CCI’s community (including professional staff, faculty, current students, alumnae, and Corporate Partners) answering the question: “what do you wish you’d known as a freshman?” Their recorded responses set an inspirational tone for the rest of the evening, during which the faculty members in attendance took a moment to introduce themselves and encouraged the new students to seek them out during their first term of classes at Drexel.
Following the faculty introductions, CCI student Kaitlyn Smith (information systems ’19) moderated a question and answer session with special guests Diane Fanelli (Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Digital Enterprise Platform Division, SAP) and De Olagundoye (Software Engineer, URBN). Fanelli, a senior executive with decades of experience, and Olagundoye, an innovative developer whose code you’ve likely seen while shopping online, offered perspectives informed by their unique experiences working in the technology industry. During the session, Smith asked Fanelli and Olagundoye to share their own stories about breaking into the field of computing and sought their advice for how new students might make the most of their time here at Drexel while preparing for a successful career in technology. Students in the audience also had an opportunity to ask their own questions, which led to discussions on the importance of mentorship and the crucial role that women leaders will play in closing the talent gap in computing fields.
This event was organized as part of CCI’s broader Women in Tech Initiative, a major strategic initiative to grow the number of women students across the College, launched in September 2017. The Women in Tech Initiative is centered on the recruitment and retention of women in undergraduate majors, with the express goal of increasing women students in CCI by 50% in five years.