Highlight a Woman – Make that 2!

By Kathryn Magura

Today I have the pleasure of highlighting a woman in the field of Student Affairs. As I ruminated on who to highlight, I decided to bend the rules (Sorry Kristen!) a little and highlight 2 women I have met via Twitter.

  1. Kate McGartland-Kinsella: Representing our friendly Canadian neighbours, Kate is passionate about serving students and championing for the success of other women. I had the pleasure to meet Kate last year at the ACUHO-I annual conference in Anaheim, CA, and immediately noticed how Kate is very genuine and friendly. I also think it’s possible that Kate is always smiling. Kate is a stalwart champion for finding ways to provide “PD for Free” opportunities for staff who may have limited resources for professional development. I recommend connecting with Kate on Twitter to learn how to be a selfless advocate for the success of others. Or if you liked the Sweet Valley High series growing up.
  2. Amma Marfo: Amma is a young professional whose authenticity and genuine spirit shines through in all her interactions on Twitter. Amma and I connected via the student affairs community on Twitter, but quickly learned that we have a lot in common: from a love for all things 30 Rock/Tina Fey to serving students on campus with an unwavering passion. Amma impressed me this past January when she decided to take on the “Snap Challenge” and live off of a food stamp equivalent diet for the month. If you want to push yourself past the traditional ways of serving students, I highly suggest you connect with Amma and check out her blog as well!


Kate and Amma inspire me, and I can say I’m a better person for having met them (well, Amma and I have yet to meet in person, but watch out when we do!). Who inspires you?

Highlight a Woman – Make that 2!

Highlight a Woman: SA Women Talk Tech

by Kristen Abell

I know that I’ve highlighted our bloggers before, but I think they deserve more than one post – they’re that amazing. This blog was started just over two years ago, and during that time, we have gotten to work with some fabulous women in tech. These bloggers have written 421 posts (or roughly 15 posts a month) over a variety of topics – both tech-related and student affairs. They’ve presented and done podcasts. They’ve created infographics and tweeted. They are, in short, outstanding representations of women in student affairs and technology. But enough about “they” – just exactly who are these fabulous women?

Colleen – Colleen has been with us since the beginning, and she has been an incredibly active blogger for us. Her experience with new motherhood has given her some additional insight into using technology as a mom, but she’s also big into fitness apps and tech tools.

Jennifer – Jennifer has long been into technology, and she has her own blog where she promotes “Tech Lady Tuesdays.” I was fortunate enough to meet Jennifer F2F at #NASPATech two years ago, where we presented on the state of women in technology.

Anitra – Anitra is our blogger who is always bringing social justice and technology together – she’s pretty awesome like that. Also, she is a fellow Buffy fan, so of course I adore her.

Jess – Jess is the Queen of the Infographic – both for our blog and for student affairs in general. She does amazing work, and her special brand of geekiness makes them even more amazing. Geeks unite!

Lauren – Lauren is our graduate student blogger extraordinaire. Anyone crazy enough to add blogging to their already full grad student schedule is just crazy enough to be blogging with us!

Valerie – Although Valerie is an all-around tech gal, she keeps us sharp on our social media use. Plus, not only is she a fellow Buffy fan, she’s also my favorite new pen pal!

Julia – Julia is our newest blogger, and we can’t wait to see what she’s going to bring to our blog. We’re just thrilled to have her on board!

Kathryn – My co-editor and partner in crime, Kathryn has also been with us since the early days, and she is an incredible asset to our blog. It wouldn’t happen without her help!

Brenda – Last, but most certainly not least – our co-founder and co-editor for the first two years, Brenda is my partner in crime in more ways than you can imagine. She has been my boss, my fellow blogger, and my friend. She brings the important feminism and tech topics to our blog, and she is a support to me in too many ways to list here.

Did I tell you they were amazing, or did I tell you they were amazing? I could not be more proud of what this blog has become from its early imaginings, and I could not be more lucky to have such a great group of bloggers (and even past bloggers!) to work with – you all deserve to be highlighted every day.

Do you know one of our bloggers? Tell us why you think they’re amazing and share the love (it is Valentine’s Day, after all)!

Highlight a Woman: SA Women Talk Tech

Highlighting a Woman in Tech: Laura Pasquini

by Kristen Abell

I’m not sure there’s many questions I need to answer about why I chose Laura Pasquini for one of our “highlight a woman” posts except one: What took you so long?

Laura has long been an inspiration to me and other women when it comes to technology in higher ed. Because I don’t think I could do her the justice she deserves in this blog post, I asked her to answer a few questions for our readers to give a better idea of why she is so amazing. First, a little background…

Laura A. Pasquini is a doctoral student in Applied Technology and Performance Improvement, Department of Learning Technologies, at the University of North Texas.  She is also an Academic Counselor and Instructor with the Office for Exploring Majors, Undergraduate Studies at the University of North Texas.  Laura holds an M.S. Ed in Elementary Teacher Education from Niagara University, NY, and an honors B.A. in History. Her professional experience in higher education include academic advising, tutoring services, supplemental instruction, career advising, campus activities, first year experience curriculum, orientation programs and housing/residence life. Laura’s research and consulting interests include the effects of emerging technology with regards to collaborative learning environments and shared learning networks for education, training, and professional development.

In response to a prompt we had previously posted, Laura had this to say about her introduction to technology:

I think that my prolegomenon to technology was definitely the Commodore 64. I was introduced to this machine at a young age, thanks to my father.

(And can I just say, I am wicked impressed with her use of “prolegomenon” – a word I now need to find a way to work into my regular conversations I think.)

What do you think about the role of women in technology today?

I am proud to be part of the growing population of ladies who work and support technology. There are a number of #edtech and #satech women who have been contributing to their field for years – with resources, blog posts, podcasts, tweets, training workshops, resources, and ideas. I give credit to a number of women in technology who have blazed the trail before me. Technology is such a vast field – I am honored to know and collaborate with a number of women who research new media, write code, design graphics & games, teach in the field, and MORE! Many women are playing well in the technology sandbox, and I only think that will thrive as technology competencies are in demand for the field of K-12 and higher education.

Laura shared how she connected with other #womentech in a video for blogger Jess Faulk’s presentation on this topic previously:

Do you have plans for future pursuits in technology?

During the last three years, I have been grinding out my doctoral course work, teaching classes, and working as an academic counselor — so it wasn’t until recently that I have had to ponder this question. I know that I will continue to research technology in learning, training, and professional development, and most likely apply technology to whatever field or area I end up in after my degree is complete. I have been fortunate to work with a number of professional associations to use technology for various reasons, including mentoring, collaborative working groups, sustainable leadership and transition, professional association partnerships, and learning initiatives. I have worked in higher education for just over 10 years, so I am now pondering my future path towards a tenured faculty position, hybrid instructional designing/faculty/professional position, consultant, or a combination of all of the above with technology. Should you want to read more about what I’ve been up to at UNT (and then some), you can check out my ATPI Doctoral Portfolio that recently qualified me to be a PhD candidate. Otherwise  I will probably share my professional plans and where technology takes me next via my blog as I ponder this while trucking through my dissertation and other fun other projects on and off campus.

Here is Laura talking about how she explores new technology:

And because this is me, I had to ask one question for fun:

What is your favorite “geek chic” item/accessory?

If I had to look up geek chic in urban dictionary, then I doubt I have any items of said nature. I do have a Batman ring & I will sport an ink mustache on me before 2012 is out – but I think I’m nerdy in different ways.

Connect and share with Laura at http://about.me/laurapasquini.

Do you know a woman in tech that you’d like to see us highlight? Let us know by emailing sawomentalktech@gmail.com!

Highlighting a Woman in Tech: Laura Pasquini

Robin Williams: The Designer for Non-Designers

by Valerie Heruska

I recently picked up some fabulous books on graphic design. They are:  The Non-Designer’s InDesign Book, The Non-Designer’s Photoshop Book, and  The Non-Designer’s Illustrator Book. What I like about them is that they explain the basics of each program and really act as a springboard for any person looking to get into graphic design.

These three books are written by Robin Williams. Born in California in the 50s, Robin was a free spirit: she traveled Europe and hitchhiked across the country. A friend introduced her to graphic design during her time at Santa Rosa Community College.

On her website she writes:

In 1984, of course, the Macintosh was invented. I was very resistant to computers. “I’m going to let computers pass me by. By the time they can do what I do in graphic design, I will be ninety years old and won’t care.” Well, was that stupid, of course. One of my students, Brad Mager insisted I could not be computer-illiterate. He brought over his Mac Plus and plopped it on my kitchen table, which was the only flat surface in the house clear enough to set anything on. We clicked. The Mac made perfect sense to me. Even the Font/DA Mover made sense. I was teaching 8 hours a week but running the entire graphic design program, which took about 30 hours a week. I got paid for 8. So I quit the design program and asked to teach a HyperCard class. Oh my that was fun. I asked if I could teach any other Macintosh classes. They said, “Can you teach spreadsheets and databases?” “Oh sure,” I said. I ran home and looked up “spreadsheet” and “database.” I discovered that I love spreadsheets and databases–such clear, logical, and oh so useful programs. Taught Microsoft Works, Intro to Macintosh, PageMaker. (http://www.ratz.com/robin/realbio.html)

Robin’s books are very user-friendly, and I can tell that she really enjoys writing and teaching graphic design. If you are interested in wanting to know more about how to use these programs, I suggest that you pick up some of her books. I think that Robin’s passion for teaching us about graphic design really puts her at the forefront of the graphic design world.

You can pick up Robin’s books at  Peach Pit Press.

Robin Williams: The Designer for Non-Designers

Women in Tech Profile: Alia Herrman

by Kristen Abell

One of the beautiful things about this series of posts is the fact that we can highlight women that don’t always get the spotlight – whether on our campuses or beyond. Today I hope to do just that in highlighting our web manager at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Alia Herrman.

I first met Alia back when I started at UMKC in 2007, and she was a graphic designer for our University Communications division working with the Women’s Center on our marketing. Since then, she has acquired all the skills necessary to be a pretty kick-ass webmaster (or mistress or, as I like to think of it, Web Wonder Woman – WWW), no small feat. Alia is my go-to whenever I have any question about websites, and she has yet to fail me in answering them.

I often say that there are two paths to becoming a WWW – either from the field of design or from the IT side. To be fair, these days there are those that come straight up the middle as web designers, but they haven’t quite taken over the field yet. One of the benefits of coming from the design side is an eye for usability – if a site is simple and looks good, it is often easy to use. I think this is a particular skill of Alia’s, as she frequently keeps in mind the needs of the user when designing or working with sites at our university. She has taken us through one progression of the website, and I anticipate she’ll see AT LEAST one more in her time here.

In addition to the challenges of mastering the web, Alia has taken the time to train a number of our other graphic designers to work with web designs. She also serves as a resource to those of us still tinkering with websites throughout the university. She leads our “web liaisons” team on campus to make sure all of our websites stay consistent with standards, and she finds ways to train and develop other WWWs (and WWMs) across campus to hone their skills with web design and maintenance.

In addition to her work as a Web Wonder Woman, Alia also enjoys gaming and is known (by me, at least) to be pretty wicked awesome.

Who are some of the unsung women in tech on your campus?

Women in Tech Profile: Alia Herrman

Highlight A Woman: Jenna Magnuski

by Lauren Creamer

Some of you reading this may already know Jenna, as she is an active member of the student affairs women in technology community – but for those of you who don’t, let me shed some light on the fantastic qualities she brings to the party (and why I look up to her).

From a very young age, Jenna was immersed in technology. Her parents encouraged her to use the computer at home, sparking her fascination. Later in life Jenna went on the receive her undergraduate education at Framingham State in Massachusetts and chose to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. Studying Student Affairs in Higher Education, Jenna had the opportunity to work at Carnegie Mellon. Through her experiences at these various universities, Jenna was able to expand her interests and indulge her passion for technology use in student affairs.

Now, Jenna and I work together at Northeastern University in the Office of Housing and Residential Life. She is a Residence Director and I am a graduate student working with living learning communities. One of the main focuses of my work is developing a social media presence in each of the living learning communities. And one of my own, personal goals is to develop a strong social media presence in the student affairs community for myself.

Although she doesn’t know it (surprise Jenna!), I look up to her – to me, Jenna is an extraordinary role model. In the past 16 months that I have worked for Northeastern (NU), I have always looked to her for what I should be doing next. Jenna is always ahead of the curve – I want to read the news in an simple format? There is a app for that (Pulse). I want people to view my schedule easily? There is a website that will keep you organized (Tungle.me). I’m having trouble deciding how to make my mark in the student affairs community? She’ll meet me for coffee to talk about it. And the work that she does for NU and the student affairs community; well, that just speaks for itself.

As I stated earlier, I work specifically with the development and assessment of social media in living learning communities (LLCs) and academic initiatives within NU ResLife. Last year, I created and assessed (throughout the year) 19 Facebook pages for all of the first year LLCs. The time I sent monitoring the pages basically involved me tracking the progress RDs and their staffs were making with posts and student interaction. Some of the pages were great, some did not succeed. There were, however, a select few that were extraordinary. Jenna’s page was one of them. Her RAs were posting on the pages every week and her residents were interacting (something we had difficulty with due to launch issues)! And not only did she have success with Facebook, she had success with Twitter as well (something she did on her own for her community).

Jenna also works closely with the NEACUHO Technology Committee. This past annual conference (held at NU), Jenna was in charge of the official NEACUHO 2012 Twitter handle. As it happens, she had to leave the conference early and entrusted the job to me (ahh!). That was quite exciting, for me anyway.

These things may seem simple or trivial to you, but to a student affairs grad starting out in her first professional role, seeing Jenna at work is uplifting. I don’t need to tell you that being a grad student is incredibly difficult work. And I don’t need to give examples of what gets any of us through our assistantships. But I will say that Jenna has given me a glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. If I could be half as excited and passionate as she is about working with technology, I know I will do great things when I graduate.

Oh, and did I mention she’s a mom too now? Everyone say hi to little Edmund!

Thank you Jenna, for being a great role model and just being plain awesome.

Highlight A Woman: Jenna Magnuski

Highlight a Woman: Clare Cady

By Kathryn Magura

This week I have the pleasure of highlighting the work of a friend and colleague, Clare Cady. Clare is the Coordinator of the Human Services Resource Center and Food Pantry on the Oregon State University campus. Clare is a recently published journal author and continues to bring the issues surrounding poverty at the collegiate level to a salient concern in Student Affairs.

Clare is passionate about helping students in poverty be successful in college. How does technology fit into this? According to Clare, we need to be cognizant of the Digital Divide, and corresponding affects it has on students in poverty.

Can you share with us what you mean by this?

I went to a graduate thesis defense recently for my friend Allyson Dean and the following quote from a student was shared, “If you don’t have access to technology, you aren’t relevant.” This resonated with me because we are currently trying to get our various subsidies applications online. If we get our applications online we will allow students to complete these forms on their own time while preserving their dignity and privacy. But what is the cost? If students are not required to come into our office, they may not realize what other resources we have to offer. We miss the opportunity to build relationships. The holistic view of what it means to be a college student is changing. When we require students to submit homework online, what message are we sending to students who do not have internet access at home, and may not be able to get to campus (due to familial and other obligations) to submit materials online? If we require students to know how to use computers, what resources do we provide them when they may not come to our universities with those skills? We offer remedial math and writing courses, why not computer skills?

How are you addressing these issues?

Last year, we applied for a technology grant through the university so we could develop these web-based applications, but were denied. Throughout the process my staff and I were hesitant to actually want the grant because we feared the potential to lose the high-touch environment the office provides to students. A student may come in to our office with the intention of applying for Mealbux, but we give them flyers for our other services, and they usually find other ways we can assist them. That is something I really enjoy doing, so we need to find a way to balance the convenience that technology can provide with the ability to engage students in need.

What other ways are you looking to utilize technology?

I am trying to start a food pantry association, so that the growing community of food pantries on college campuses can be a support and resource to each other. The fact is that professionals doing this work are disparate and usually wearing many different professional hats. I really see the best use of technology for this group is to build and strengthen our community.

Your passion for serving students who are truly in need is inspiring and contagious.

Thank you. I have seen some students struggle through homelessness and still manage to graduate. It feels wonderful to know I played a small role in their success. I know a college education will give the students I help a greater opportunity to succeed after they graduate. Finding ways to remove the barriers so they can get there is how I gain satisfaction in the day-to-day tasks. There are no cut and dry answers, and each student I help has different needs. You have to be creative when finding solutions. This office was created out of the grassroots efforts of students. I love that! The students inspire me every day.

Thank you, Clare, for being an inspiration to me and other student affairs professionals.

Highlight a Woman: Clare Cady

Highlight a Woman: Leah Andrews

by Lysa Salsbury

LeahThis week, I’m delighted to profile a respected colleague and friend, Leah Andrews. Leah is the web coordinator for the division of Student Affairs at the University of Idaho. She’s a consummate professional whom I greatly admire, and a warm and generous individual with a wicked sense of humor. Within days of joining the Student Affairs web team, she managed to initiate (and within weeks, accomplish) for the Women’s Center what we had been waiting months for—transferring our website to a new content management system, and updating the layout to match the University’s new web template. She also helped us to create a brand-new stand-alone website for the LGBTQA Office. Leah has provided immeasurable (read: patient beyond belief) support to us as we try to become proficient Sitecore web authors. It’s a delight to get to highlight her skills and knowledge.

Tell us a little bit about yourself—give us the full-on, unabridged Leah Story.

I grew up wanting to be a writer. I think I inherited the mantra “never boring” from my mother. It didn’t matter to me what I ended up doing or where I ended up going, I just didn’t want to be bored or dissatisfied. I studied journalism with a minor in German at U-Idaho, and worked as a newspaper reporter for a while, eventually getting into marketing and public relations. I lived in Germany for a year, and also taught and traveled in China for two years. I was always interested in science, and did technical writing for a year, and worked for the College of Engineering as their Public Information Officer, as well as working as a Communications Assistant for the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, and doing Marketing and Recruitment for University Housing at U-Idaho. I was drawn to jobs where I could write about science.

Each Marketing and PR position I had always had a website component, so I started to learn. First, I learned how to edit pages using HTML, and then I dipped my toes in the waters of website building just a little further to learn how to create tables and links. In the beginning, it was all really basic, but each time, I was surrounded by wonderful teachers and mentors who would patiently explain the process. It often felt like being in the Wizard of Oz and getting to step behind the curtain. I was pretty certain I didn’t belong there, but it was interesting and exciting, and I started to understand more and more.

How did you come to have a career in technology?

It’s funny, this is really the first position I’ve held that’s classified as a technology job. All of my previous employment revolved more around writing, with certain aspects that involved a basic understanding of websites, or at least a willingness to learn. In this job, I still get to use writing and editing skills at times, but the web component is suddenly at the forefront. I still get nervous when I’m around people who know much more than I do about technology. I worry that someone will figure out I’m a fake and send me away, but it isn’t like that. I’m part of a fantastic team of web coordinators who are incredibly inclusive and dedicated to helping each other. Many of us come from fields that are not based in technology, so we also bring other strengths to the table. I taught English in China for 18 months before I came to this job, and I really enjoy being able to teach others how to use the content management system. So much of learning about technology is like learning a different language. At first it all seems insurmountable, and you need someone to help you break it down and make it manageable, to answer questions and create a lesson plan that introduces the concept first, and then asks the learner to start using those concepts in a non-threatening environment.

I still get a kick out of the fact that I have two staff meetings each week, one with Student Affairs professionals, and we sit around a table and make eye contact and use paper notepads and pens to take notes. Then I go to the web team meeting and everyone has a laptop open, and we type our meeting notes on shared documents so we can all add items at the same time and see who is editing the document and what has been changed. Sometimes we just meet virtually using our laptops and cameras if the weather is really bad or everyone is crunched for time. We would never do that for a Student Affairs meeting. They are both important meetings and both attended by groups of people that care greatly about their work and about each other, but sometimes I feel like I belong to two different worlds here on campus.

What are some of the challenges and/or highlights of being a female IT professional?

I really enjoy this job. I’m constantly learning new things and I’m in an environment where I’m supported and at the same time challenged to learn from others and to bring new things I’ve tried or learned to the group to see if they can stand up not only under my own logic but that of others with different experience and different perspectives. In high school, I knew I was a nerd, but it was one of those things you tried to shake so that boys might still ask you to go to a dance. Being a web coordinator is nothing like that. I love being a nerd. I still wear high-heeled shoes that make podiatrists cringe, and I’m first in line when it’s bonus time at the Clinique counter, but I can also make jokes about infinite loops (linking a page back to the same page, not advisable). I wear my Firefly Jayne shirts to the gym or hanging out on the weekends now, whereas when I was in PR, I only bought things on Thinkgeek for my partner. There is something really nice about embracing the term “nerd” and realizing that this is an area I really enjoy being a part of.

I work with a team that was pretty much a 50/50 split between women and men—now with a few new hires, there are more women than men on the team. I know a lot of times in tech jobs that isn’t the case, but our team is really even, so it isn’t like going to a meeting with all men and being the only woman in the room. I think I would still enjoy the job even if I were the only woman on the team, but there is something really pleasant about having a balanced team and not feeling “othered” when you enter a room.

At the end of the day, if I do my job well, it means that I’ve found ways to convey the message of different areas in Student Affairs and hopefully, I’ve made it easier to reach students. I want to embrace technology that students are most comfortable using, and I want to use that to help them find information they need and want, information that will make their experience at college safer, and more meaningful and rewarding.

Can you tell us a story about a time you really loved your job?

I love my job most days. I really enjoy making things possible for other people. I like watching others learn how to use the content management system, I like getting phone calls when someone can’t make something work and I get to help figure out why. I like that I learn new things on a relatively constant basis.

As far as specific examples, I guess my favorite moments in this job have been the opportunities to help create new websites or re-imagine websites, like the Women’s Center website, the LGBTQA Office website, and the Campus Recreation website. Soon there will be a brand new Health Education website—these are all websites that help students and provide important resources. I get excited about the content I’m able to make available. I love coming up with new ways to collect data, or new ways to help people connect or voice concerns. These are all things that really matter, and I get to be part of that process.

What advice would you give young women thinking about entering technology fields?

Don’t decide to not look into these fields because you think you’ll be the only woman in your classes. Don’t give up on something that you might find really challenging and fulfilling, and don’t think that technology doesn’t make a difference or impact people. The thing I love about technology is that you can create ways to communicate information or collect data, and even once you’ve finished the process, it keeps working after you’ve completed the project. You continue to help people connect with one another, find help, share information with others, and save people time. Your work matters so much more than you can ever imagine at the beginning.

I wish I had looked into this field when I was going to college. I was never a huge fan of math in high school. I excelled at English, history, languages, and debate, but I didn’t really know that there were places where technology and communication intersected, and the things I was good at in high school all involved the same sort of analytical thinking and logic that I come across on a daily basis in this job. The problem solving that we get to do here is fun, and the result is being able to communicate ideas that are valuable and important, and perhaps even ideas that change lives. They are definitely ideas that enhance lives.

Highlight a Woman: Leah Andrews

Highlight a Woman: Mary Lou Hines Fritts

By Brenda Bethman

My institution is rare in having a female CIO (nationally, only 23% of CIOs in higher education are female, according to Campus Technology) — her name is Mary Lou Hines Fritts and she was kind enough to agree to answer my questions for this month’s “highligt a woman in tech” post. I’ve been at UMKC for five years and have been impressed with Mary Lou’s leadership and the way she serves as a role model for other women who aspire to go into technology. She is, in fact, awesome — actually responding to a last-minute final question today despite the fact that UMKC’s network is having problems and she must be getting a ton of emails and questions (as we all know, few things make folks crankier than losing the interwebs). I am pleased to introduce our SAWTT readers to her:

Can you describe your background? Degrees, previous positions.

Ph.D., M.S., B.S. – Computer Science from Kansas State University; started at a community college in northern Wyoming initially.

Faculty member at UMKC for 12 years before moving to the Provost Office and then becoming the CIO/Vice Provost.  About 50% to 60% of my time is spent on CIO activities and the rest on academic affairs activities. Because our administrative computing is primarily handled at the System office, I have the opportunity to participate in academic affairs activities that I would not be able to otherwise.

What inspired you to work in technology? Was it your original plan when attending college?

I had done work-study at Northwest College (the community college I attended in Wyoming) in the computer center – back in the old days of punch cards, paper tape and soldering your own boards.  When I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, I had two small children and was a single parent. I knew that the technology field would provide a good income for my family and it was something that I enjoyed. It was NOT my original plan when I went to college. My original plan was to be an archeologist.

What role do you feel women play in technology within higher education and in the corporate world?

The role for women in technology is tough. There are not a lot of women in the field and it is still not a woman-friendly field. However, the nature of the field has changed significantly in the past 10 years or so. It has moved to being a very integrated, comprehensive, complex system that blurs the lines between function and technology in ways we have not seen before. It requires people who can walk the line between the end-users and the technology implementers (programmers, etc.) and build these massive systems. These soft skill requirements make the field much more attractive to women because they can see a place to fit and to be part of teams, which was not the case 20 years ago.

Women bring a collaborative nature to what used to be a lone wolf field.  That is really important.

What advice would you give other women interested in working in technology?

Go for it! The field is great and it is not all about programming in a cube. The opportunities to blend computer science skills with interests/skills in another domain are huge. Get a solid math background not because you will use it extensively but because it gives you the foundation to understand systems. Collaborate all through your undergraduate career – it will help you immensely.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

Travel; hang with my grandchildren; read; watch soccer; dream about wild and crazy adventures.

Highlight a Woman: Mary Lou Hines Fritts