Introducing – Rachel

By Rachel Luna

"My story is important not because it is mine... but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours.” - Frederick Buechner

“My story is important not because it is mine… but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is yours.” – Frederick Buechner

Before discovering student affairs, I was a print newspaper journalist: I conducted interviews with a pen and notepad, consistently had ink smears on my fingers, and loved the smell of newsprint in the morning.  Nowadays, you can usually find me smartphone in hand, somewhere with wifi or 4G reception, and a battery charger (with extension cord) in my bag.

The technologies may have changed, but the connections haven’t.  By turning the pages of the newspaper, I met new people, discovered innovative ideas, and kept abreast of current trends – just like I do now by clicking through screens on my phone or computer.  Through engaging with other people’s blogs, tweets, and posts, I seek to understand who they are, and in doing so, can better understand who I am.  In this way, I most appreciate technology as a tool for community building.

Rachel typing on a smartphoneAs a new blogger, I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to learn with and from this community.  I particularly enjoy exploring tech’s relationship with accessibility, inclusion, and universal design, and am excited to engage in these conversations in this space.  I’m also interested in connecting with folks around multiraciality (shout out to ACPA’s Multiracial Network!), sports (curling, anyone?), and penguins (of all shapes and sizes).

Currently,  I spend my days at University of the Pacific’s Center for Community Involvement supporting folks in their social justice journeys, leadership development, and community engagement.  In June, I’ll be Student Services Coordinator for Samuel Merritt University – San Francisco Peninsula Learning Center.  You can follow me on Twitter @RachelHLuna.  I look forward to connecting!

Introducing – Rachel

New Blogger – Julia Golden

In 1992 my father brought home a delicate contraption. It was grey, bulky, and when this machine

Julia Golden

turned on it sounded like it was coming alive or breathing heavy. It was the family’s first computer. I remember playing, “Manhole” by the developers who would go on to create, “Myst”. I remember forgetting about the tv, as I did not own video games yet, and I could only read so many, ‘Babysitter Club” books. At 8 years old I would sit in a desk chair far too big and tried to solve electronic puzzles or games for hours. I was hooked.
Eventually 1997 rolled on by and AOL enabled me to talk to other people around the world. My parents tried hard to prevent this, but their password was my grandma’s first name. I learned two things in that moment: Having a strong password is important and that the computer was going to evolve into something amazing.
Years later I can say that I love technology for so many reasons. I love it because it has allowed me to connect with others, to be creative with amazing programs and made my life efficient.
When I am not playing my PS3, blogging, tweeting, FBing it up, I am most likely at work where I am an Assistant Director of Residence LIfe at Simmons College. On the job technology and social media is key! When I’m not at work I am totally working out (shout out to #safit) or roaming around Boston. I look forward to posting on this blog further as I believe technology and higher education can go hand in hand.
New Blogger – Julia Golden

Introducing — Valerie

by Valerie Heruska


My name is Valerie Heruska and I am a computer, social media and technology geek. I’ve broken many computers and crashed hard drives, but like Humpty Dumpty, I put them back together again. This is the very reason that I am infatuated with spiffy new hardware. I love that the computer/iPad/gadgets have revolutionized everything we do, and are fortunate enough to have access to these wonderful technologies.

When I’m not breaking computers, I’m a Residence Hall Director at Boston University. I love my job and my students, and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time at work – having great conversations with students. I also enjoy figuring how to connect with students in the virtual world, since most of them are connected via their mobile devices and/or computers.

I love writing, blogging, and tweeting. You can find me on Twitter @valerieheruska. My current adventure is graphic design, which I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process. When I was given the opportunity to blog about student affairs +women+ technology, I jumped at the opportunity. I would like to thank Kristen for the opportunity and I would like to thank Gateway for making a computer that was easy to break and put back together.

Introducing — Valerie

Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

When I read Anitra’s post on January 17, I had to laugh. Technological late bloomer doesn’t even begin to cover the state of affairs here. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even sprouted yet. I am definitely technologically challenged, and I don’t even have the excuse of being proud to be so. Which is why I’m here: to learn, and to share some occasionally amusing and sometimes pitiful stories of my lack of technological prowess. But I like to write and have been told I do a sort of reasonable job at it, so bear with me for a few hopefully not-too-painful minutes.

I’m the Program Coordinator at the University of Idaho Women’s Center. Students are always strangely intrigued (read: appalled) when I tell them that not only was there no Internet when I was in college, but that I never touched a computer before buying an overpriced, second-hand Mac Plus in 1994 (9-inch monochrome display and 4 whole MB of RAM). I handwrote all my papers. And here’s the thing: I’m Not That Old (really).

Last semester, I started supervising the students who write for our blog. Through this experience, I’ve started to make tentative forays into the mysterious world of blogging, an enjoyable if somewhat intimidating experience for someone who still writes in a leather-bound journal that I keep by the side of my bed. I use Facebook avidly as a means of connecting with the students we serve, Twitter not-so-much-ly. I don’t have a smart phone, an iPad, or a Kindle. Heck, I don’t even have TV. I’ve never played Angry Birds and I don’t really know what Spotify is all about. But I am genuinely fascinated by the opportunities that social media provide for increased connection and dialogue. At the Women’s Center, we’ve found social media to be an invaluable way of reaching our constituents. On the flip side, though, we also regularly reach a number of folks who simply don’t want to be reached, and therein lies the source of my sometime discontent with technology. I can’t help but occasionally feel dismayed and discouraged by the breakdown of courteous discourse that these online discussion forums often encourage.

How do we as Student Affairs professionals using social media set the tone to promote learning and a genuinely constructive exchange of ideas? How do we encourage productive conversations and foster accountability and civility in (mostly anonymous) respondents without invoking censorship? And how do we deal with those who refuse to engage in a respectful exchange of opinions?

Answers on a postcard, please…

Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

Meet the Blogger: Anitra

By Anitra Cottledge

I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a technological late bloomer. I’ve bought nearly every gadget of the last 10-15 years significantly later than other people I know: cell phone (let’s not even get into when I got a smartphone), desktop computers, digital camera, laptop computer, e-reader, etc. At the same time, I consider myself a really fast learner and a very tech-savvy woman. I’m also really interested in exploring technology as a topic: how it enhances and detracts from our lives, who has access to it and what kinds of access they/we have, and how the view of technology changes depending on who’s interacting with it. In other words, what does technology mean when seen through the lens of race, gender, and class (and other identities)?

For me, technology is connected to being a writer and avid reader, being a nerd, and being someone who loves information. I always say that if I wasn’t the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, or in some other women’s and gender equity-related position, I’d be a librarian. Or an intellectual property lawyer. Or a librarian. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Of course, being techy serves me well at my day job, too. One of the things I’m responsible for is managing our website, so learning HTML in the mid-90s has served me well. I was an early blogger, although I haven’t blogged in a long while. Despite occasionally thinking that some of social media is a bit sketch (yes, I mean you, Foursquare), I do see its value and love working with folks in my office to figure out how we, as an organization, can best utilize things like blogs, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about what we do and why it’s important.

Technology is even all over my bookshelf. Right now I’m reading Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education and Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. It evens finds its way into the fiction I’m reading: Soulless, which is all alternate history and steampunky.

So I have questions, as a student affairs practitioner, as a sometimes instructor, as a black woman, as someone who is fascinated and repulsed by the Twilight phenomenon: how does the digital divide manifest itself in the classroom? How can Women’s Centers best use social media? Wouldn’t the world be a sad and empty place without the Buffy vs. Edward video?

I’m looking forward to answering these and other burning technology-related questions and very glad to join the fabulous women bloggers here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech!

Meet the Blogger: Anitra

Blog Updates

By Brenda Bethman

Spring brings not only sunshine and flowers (although we are mighty happy to see both in KC, where it seemed winter would never end), but also changes to Student Affairs Women Talk Tech. Thanks to increased responsibilities at work, grad school, and just plain busy-ness, Daria Graham has had to step down as a blogger. We will miss her and wish her well.

We are also pleased to welcome two new bloggers to the site: Jess Faulk and Kathryn Magura. Both bring a strong background in technology and student affairs, and will be great additions to our already strong team of bloggers. Please join us in welcoming Jess and Kathryn to the site. You can also follow them on Twitter or check out their other blogs, listed on the right sidebar.

Blog Updates

Meet the Blogger: Melissa

By Melissa Johnson

Hard at work at the age of 1

So I’m a little late to the game, but many thanks to Kristen and Brenda for letting me join in the tech blogging fun. I’ve been at the University of Florida for a decade now, starting with New Student Programs, and for the past six years with the University Honors Program. Although I’m no longer technically working in student affairs, you could say that I run my own little student affairs division within Honors. Academic advising, career development, student organization advising, leadership, program planning, first year experience, housing, you name it – I’m somehow involved with it in this position. My passion, however, remains with first year experience courses, an area of interest since I was an undergraduate peer leader for UNS 101 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro back in 1998. I’m very proud of our professional development program for first-year honors students.

Although we did not get a computer at home until I was a senior in high school, I had spent a lot of time on computers starting in elementary school where I was a champion at blasting alien spaceships by solving math problems. And when I was in the 3rd grade (we’re talking mid-1980’s here), my mom sent me off to computer camp at East Carolina University. I’m pretty sure my bio in the camp newsletter we created included something about singing and dancing to the Monkees. Clearly, I was a very cool kid in elementary school.

Fast forward to now, and I’m usually the go-to person in the office for technology initiatives. I manage our office social media accounts and incorporate technology as appropriate with other daily tasks and teaching. I’m pursuing my PhD in educational technology at UF, with a specific interest in instructional design and pedagogical uses of technology. I have been blogging off and on since about 2005, and I’ve been incorporating blogs into my teaching for just as long. Our latest classroom adventure in blogging is the Swamp Survival Blog where my sophomore professional development students blog about first-year student success.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on technology and student affairs! You can find me on Twitter.

Meet the Blogger: Melissa

Meet the Blogger: Colleen

By Colleen Riggle

Nice to meet you! I’m Colleen Riggle, a thirty-something woman, wife, step-mom, daughter, sister, aunt and endurance athlete in Georgia. Professionally, I work on initiatives to end sexual violence through education and programming and to create a more inclusive environment for women at Georgia Tech! My background is in Student Affairs Leadership and Women’s Center Work.  I have been awarded the Award of Excellence in May 2008 at Georgia Tech and the Apple Award in April 2008 from the Panhellenic Council for my work with educating about sexual violence. I’ve also been featured in Women in Higher Education for her work with sorority women on campus.  And is the newly elected co-chair of the National Women’s Studies Association Women’s Center Committee.

My interest in technology started when I was younger – I distinctly remember loading our dot matrix printer when using our ms-dos (before the lustrous Windows) computer to print off text files.  I remember my brothers and dad use to make computer and my parents still to this date have lots of random monitors, hard drives, and shells.  In high school, I remember receiving “AOL free” in the mail and being online, chatting, and always trying to get around having to actually pay for the “world wide web” as it was called.  Fast forward to college and I remember going to the computer lab in the library hashing out work on a iMac.  And packing for college, I remember buying my first computer from Sears and it ended up being larger than my entire wardrobe combined.   Lugging that HUGE monitor, desktop, keyboard, speakers, mouse to my dorm room – now we have iPads,  and can update our facebook status from our phones and post pictures online just as fast as I can get the next best seller for my Kindle!

I remember in my early days of endurance event running my brother calling me up and telling me about this new product that Apple was coming out in a few months I needed to order now – it was called an iPod.  That gadget was amazing and I remember taking that with me wherever I went for several years.  In the same year, I bought my first iBook computer – she was laid to rest this past winter.  I’m as geek as geek can get so it was no wonder that I found a geek who named all the home computer after characters in Matrix (Oracle, Neo, Niobe, and Trinity) that we were made for each other.  It was a proud day when we searched for a router that could handle 11+ devices at home.  However, we’re a house divided between the iPhone and Android.

I tweet, I blog, I’m LinkedIn and I ❤ facebook. I flickr and love reading books on my Kindle.  I am the webmistress for Women in Student Affairs (WISA) though NASPA and maintain our Women’s Center website, body image site and blog AND our sexual violence site too.

When I’m not being techy, I train for various endurance events through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. And I thrive on finding frugal ways of making life more fun!

Recognize any of these?:

Looking forward to being a part of this blogging team!

Meet the Blogger: Colleen

Meet the Blogger: Jennifer Keegin

By Jennifer Keegin

Do you remember where you were when you first started playing on the internet? When you found out what the internet WAS?

I clearly remember my Senior year of college (I don’t mind sharing – it was 1997) and I had just learned the previous year how to send emails and we were dabbling with “newsgroups”. We found all the dirty ones first OF COURSE and then based on the limited amount of knowledge I had on the subject, I jumped into an HTML class my senior year.

This was hard core HTML. I’m talking the kind of code that allowed you to put words on a screen  in different colors with a background image! I know. It was CRAZY. As a Mass Communication major (minor in Literature) I had yet to discover the many ways in which my love of advertising/marketing would be fused together with my other love – event planning. These were the days of  just figuring out how to work a new medium and how to use that knowledge to impress my friends/family.

I don’t suppose much has changed over the years. From that point on, I had a love of anything related to the internet, and how to manipulate the internet to find the information I wanted. I dumped my journals to blog, I joined Facebook back in the early days, I created websites that covered my interests (including Assoc. of College Unions International Region 2 & 12’s sites) and even won a Comedy Central contest in which I created a website for comedian Nick Swardson. (Gaining the experience of 4 years free labor). I still try the newest, latest and greatest internet sites for items like management and organization tools, the best browsers (I like Opera), and the newest viral videos.  I also read everyday, usually on my iPhone. Great place to get started. However, I am getting older. Without additional classes on coding etc., I don’t create as many websites from scratch anymore. I use like everyone else.

Related to general internet interests is my newest fancy – the fusion of marketing/advertising and Social Media. When Ed Cabellon and other super awesome tweeps (Twitter Peeps. Did I make that up? Or is that a real Twitter word???) got a group together at the ACUI NYC Annual Conference last year to discuss social media – I was very interested in the topic and immediately joined on to form the Community of Practice for Social Media. As the advisor for the Late Nite program here at Binghamton University , I found that we weren’t doing nearly enough to get the word out about our events. We had a tired old website and a “person page” on Facebook. We needed to upgrade! Fan page on Facebook, Twitter account, DJ account, podcasts of our concerts…you name it…we now have it!

Being a tech girl can be fun – my experience isn’t just internet based – I also had to learn at an early stage in my career (Oh, about 13 years ago…) how to hook up vcrs, dvd players, sound systems and the like. I have a whole post coming about one particular sound system from my past. I think the key to all tech is knowing your interests, your limits, and when to say “I need help.”

I look forward to blogging with this amazing group of ladies, learning from them, and learning about myself along the way.

Meet the Blogger: Jennifer Keegin

Meet the Blogger: Stephanie

By Stephanie Wintling

I still remember to this day the excitement and amusement I felt when my dad brought home our first Windows computer. This illustrious beautiful contraption mesmerized both my brother and me. We would constantly fight about who got to play on the computer and my parents eventually had to limit our time on it.  Throughout my entire childhood, my family was blessed enough to afford the newest gadgets and never let me believe that in any way tech gadgets were grown-up toys or only for males. My favorite tech memory is bringing a Palm Pilot to school in the 8th grade, forget paper–I have a Palm Pilot; my classmates had no idea why I had one or what it even did at the time. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

When I entered college at the University of West Florida, I was convinced I would be a doctor, and then chemistry convinced me otherwise.  There I was at the pivotal moment everyone reaches in college, sometimes multiple times; I have to change my major/my career/my life. I did what made the most sense and changed my major to the subject I had succeeded in: mathematics. Spring of my first year I walked in to Calculus 2, Math Set Theory, and C++ Programming and I was forced with a new reality–I was a minority. In Calculus 2, I was the only female who did not drop the course. Never in my life had I felt so uncomfortable in an academic setting. Academics had defined me for almost all of my life, and here I was uncomfortable in the one environment I had always been comfortable in. Sometimes I wish this story had a different ending, but I switched my major to Psychology by the end of that semester, although, I have to note I did make As and Bs in those classes that spring semester, and I strongly believe I’ll finish my mathematics degree one day.

Thankfully Psychology majors had an abundance of electives, so I stocked my schedule full of the most random technology classes the department would allow me to take. From Intro to the Internet to Microsoft Office, I took whatever I could, and now I am this random grab bag of computer information. I’ve contemplated getting a certification numerous times or taking advanced web design classes but I just started a new job at Texas State University so those ideas are on the back burner for a bit.  As a graduate student at the University of Florida, I created the website for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (not my best work but functional), and quickly became a tech support resource for my cohort. After receiving my M.Ed. in Student Personnel in Higher Education, I accepted a job as a Residence Director at Texas State. I’ve only been here 2.5 months and already I receive e-mails from colleagues for tech support.

Finally, I always read instruction manuals, which provides me with a wide array of random insights to how to use the tricks you never knew you MacBook had to making your life easier in Microsoft Office.

I look forward to posting more and sharing my insights in technology! Since my own personal story carries some heartbreak, I’m very passionate about women in STEM and jumped at the chance to write for this blog. Be sure to leave a comment on anything you would like for to me to post about, especially anything Microsoft Office.

Follow me on TwitterAdd me on FacebookConnect with me on LinkedIn.

Meet the Blogger: Stephanie