What do you do to promote women in technology in student affairs?

by Colleen Riggle

This is a great prompt and it really got me to thinking, “How DO I promote women in technology in student affairs?”  I mean I work at an “Institute of Technology,” direct a Women’s Center, and have a degree in Student Affairs, but really how do I promote women in tech?

Then I broke technology in to a shorter acronym, T-E-C-H and discovered THIS is how I promote women in technology in students affairs:

Teach:  I find that teaching those women who I’m around how to use the technology at their disposable is the best way to promote the continuation of knowledge.  I tend to be default person in my area/department who knows how to work the technology or “fix it” when something goes array during a presentation, program or event.  However, I find that if I teach those around me to how to “fix it,” then we have more individuals who are advancing technology within our area/department.

Empower:  Once you teach then you must empower those to use the skills they have to use the technology at their fingertips.  Technology allows us to do so much more than we could 5, 10, 15 years ago!

Chat:  Besides talking about running, I enjoy chatting about technology.  Chatting about the coolest new apps,  software or electronic is a great way in which I’m able to promote technology to those women I worked with and have as colleagues.  We were just chatting in my office last week about how we could integrate technology more into the daily activities!

Higher Ed:  Women in student affairs are working at institutions of higher education, so therefore we’re probably more prone to be life-long learners.  Once you’re able to teach, empower and chat about the technology you have to keep up with learn what’s new, hip and the latest trend!

While at first I didn’t see myself at someone who promoted technology, once I broke it down and examined what I do every day, I realized that I DO in fact promote women in technology in student affairs.

How about you?  How do you promote women in technology in student affairs?


What do you do to promote women in technology in student affairs?

Student Affairs Women and Technology: Embracing the Fear

How do you see student affairs as a whole encouraging women in technology? In what ways do we NOT do a good job encouraging women in technology?

When I saw the blog prompt for today, I was excited to have the opportunity to respond. I have been working with technology for the entire decade I have been in student affairs. I did not choose to go into student affairs (does anyone, or do we all have that one experience that leads us on that path?), nor did I ever see myself working in technology when I was an undergraduate. Turns out I had a natural skill with technology, and was fortunate to have a supervisor who mentored me well, and encouraged me to develop and refine these skills.

In my experience, working with technology is frequently position based, and those positions tend to have more men gravitate to them. When I was in college, I did everything I could to avoid computer/technology classes. I liked using computers for email and the internet, but never felt like I had much skill there otherwise. How might my future have been different if I had a mentor in college push on why I was afraid of technology? What was it about technology that scared me so much? Once I started digging into various technologies (for me, it’s campus Housing software and social media) I found a passion for it and a natural ability to use and explain it to others. What a gift that potentially went undeveloped!

My guess is, if you ask other women in Student Affairs, they will have a similar story regarding technology. I was fortunate to find a supervisor and mentor who encouraged me, but I also had to get over some of my internalized fear of my ability with technology. In hindsight, how could I possibly know my ability with technology if I never gave myself the chance to try?

In student affairs, we are great at mentoring each other, but have been traditionally slow to embrace technology to enhance our work. How can we mentor each other if we haven’t taken the time to develop these skills ourselves? When you look at Computer Science classes and majors, you will still see more men than women. Why is that? I recently blogged about an experience I had this summer being the only woman in a technology training. The questions I asked in that post are still relevant now. Women are not encouraged to follow careers in technology, and I find this to be very sad. Think of the lost potential! Maybe the next Steve Jobs is named Stephanie, and she’s just looking for that gentle nudge of encouragement!

As a profession, student affairs needs to continue to embrace technology. I look to my fellow women who have embraced technology to lead our profession in moving forward with technological initiatives. Utilizing technology doesn’t have to squelch the face-to-face interaction with students; it can be used to enhance our interactions! Furthermore, those of us who are more adept at technology should seek out ways to mentor and encourage other women to try technology. We need to embrace any fear we have, and continue to help our profession evolve when it comes to technology.

Student Affairs Women and Technology: Embracing the Fear

Blog Prompt Monday: The One Who Made The Difference

By Jenn Prentice

Her name was Cynthia Donaldson. It was her first year teaching. My name at the time was Jennifer Hadra. I was four and it
was my first time attending school. Unlike many of my peers who spent some time in preschool, I had never been in a classroom before
and at nearly 4-6 inches shorter and 5-10 lbs lighter than all of my classmates, I was terrified.

But not Mrs. Donaldson. Although it was her first classroom experience as well, she seemed (at least to a kindergartener) to have
it all together. While Mrs. Donaldson didn’t teach me about the inverted pyramid, help me search for internships or challenge my intellect while debating the merits of
various interpersonal communication theories (like some of my college professors did) she taught me a few important lessons
that I have carried with me throughout my adult life:

1.) Learning is fun-Whether it was learning my ABCs or practicing basic addition, Mrs. Donaldson made simple concepts come to life.
A history lesson of the first Thanksgiving was not enough for Mrs. Donaldson. Making our own pilgrim costumes in art
class and eating feed similar to what would have been consumed in that day and time was more her style. Field trips were frequent
and recess was a chance to learn about plant life. We were rewarded for completing homework assignments and honored
publically when we perfected our cursive.

2.) I can do anything I put my mind to- When I was discouraged because I was
put in the Red Birds reading group (the one for average readers) rather than the more advanced Blue Bird group, Mrs. Donaldson
stayed 30 minutes late three times a week to work with me on my phonics skills. By first grade, I was at the top of my class
in reading comprehension.

3.) You don’t have to be popular to be cool- As previously mentioned, I was the youngest, smallest person in my class and often
lacked confidence in myself and my abilities because of it. However, Mrs. Donaldson took a personal interest in me
and paid special attention to how I was doing not only academically, but also socially each day. I went to a small, private
school and there were only two other girls in my class. These girls had gone to preschool together and often excluded me from
playing together at recess. During the times I was left out, Mrs. Donaldson herself came over and played with me. Since
all of my classmates loved her (and they were too young to understand the concept of teacher’s pet), many of my
peers–including the girls who were excluding me–ended up thinking I was cool and wanting to play with me.
This was a priceless boost of confidence.

I know that this is a blog focused on teaching and working at the collegiate level and my example is, well, elementary.
But I often wonder how much of a difference I could make in the lives of my students if I was a bit more like Mrs. Donaldson.
Rather than giving a boring, Power Point filled lecture, why not incorporate more group work, technology or guest speakers
into my class sessions? And that student who I can see is struggling to grasp a concept, but I don’t think I have enough time to
tutor? Maybe there is an extra 30 minutes in my schedule after all.

Having been a college student for many years, I know (as I’m sure all of you do as well) that it is a major time of transition.
And like I was in Kindergarten, as a college student, I was fairly impressionable. So, perhaps we should all be a little
more like Mrs. Donaldson and go that extra mile. You never know when it might make a lasting impression or at the very
least, get a blog post written about you.

Blog Prompt Monday: The One Who Made The Difference

Female Mentors: How they Help Us Grow

By Kathryn Magura

I’ve been thinking a lot about mentors lately. I am fortunate to have had some inspiring people in my life who have helped shape my view of the world. There are people who have come into my life whom I aspire to be more like, and people who have taught me skills that have helped me to become the professional I am today. Some of these people I am fortunate to call a mentor, but how many of them have been women?

As a female working on the technology side of higher education customer service (yes, that is a category, I promise you), the number of female mentors is small, but they are present. Becoming an active member of the #sachat community was one of the best personal and professional decisions I made about a year ago. Not only did this community connect me to a myriad of other student affairs professionals, it helped me see that there are strong women in our field who are working to support each other and help each other grow.

When I sat down to write this post, I had a hard time determining which direction it should go. To be completely honest, the majority of my mentors have been men. As I’ve become more involved with the #sachat community, I have become more connect to women in Student Affairs who are truly inspiring. Also, through some of the various networks available to me like the Women In Student Affairs #WISA group, I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn from some amazing female professionals in this field. As I reflect on the things I have learned, and will continue to learn from this group, I realize I haven’t taken the opportunities to thank these women for the ways they motivate me. I’d like to rectify that now.

One of my female mentors is Mamta Accapadi. @DeanMamta, as she is referred to on Twitter, is the Dean of Student Life at Oregon State University. While I have the pleasure of working at the same institution as Mamta, or work lives rarely bring us together. As we have connected more via Twitter, I feel very blessed to have established a relationship with such an inspirational woman. Mamta cares deeply for everyone she comes into contact with, and that is one reason she excels in what she does. As I have observed Mamta over the last few years, I have seen how she has pioneered the way for finding a work-life balance for her and other women at our university who choose to work and have children. This fall, Mamta is taking a sabbatical from OSU to join Semester at Sea. This move further inspires me, because it shows that you can push yourself beyond your comfort zone professionally, and reap the rewards that follow. I look forward to hearing about this adventure upon her return.

Another female mentor of mine is someone I also have the pleasure of calling my friend. Seeing as how we have not actually met in person, you may think it’s strange to have developed such a strong connection to someone living over 2000 miles away. Well, when I first met Stacy Oliver, or @StacyLOliver as we know her on Twitter, a year or two ago we bonded instantly over a shared passion for sass and snark. Stacy and I related well because we work on the Operations side of on-campus housing. In the time we have been friends, I have learned more from Stacy than I could ever thank her for. Stacy is an eloquent writer who has an amazing ability to build community through words. Stacy has had a challenging summer personally, and has displayed a level of grace and reflection that I find encouraging to anyone dealing with loss. I learn things from Stacy every day, and look forward to actually meeting her in person sometime soon.

So those are two of my mentors. Women who inspire me to be a better woman and Student Affairs professional every day. Who inspires you?

Female Mentors: How they Help Us Grow

Fearless Women

By Stephanie Wintling

Have you ever had the experience where you meet someone and instantly you know they will have a profound impact on your life? There are few instances in my life when this has happened but when this happens I always stand in awe at those moments and am immensely grateful that they happen to me at all. Majority of people influence my life over time but there are those rare few that upon meeting I knew they would help me along my journey both professionally and personally.

Today’s blog prompt is “Do you have any female mentors? Tell us about them and how they have influenced you.”

This prompt has made me reflect on my female mentors and why I consider them mentors. Three women instantly came to mind and I started contemplating what is it about these women that make them my mentors. One theme arose, “fearless” these women, although I know they experience fear, approach their professional lives fearlessly. They have fearlessly given me opportunities to advance my career without being protective over a project or doubted I wouldn’t do as good as job as them.  They have fearlessly called me out on self deprecating behaviors and empowered me to own my strengths and talents. Finally, they have fearlessly pursued their careers and achieved exponentially and continue to achieve in their careers.

Bet you’re curious who these women are? Here are the 3 women I consider my mentors:

Teri Bump @tbump

Although Teri has only recently been introduced in to my life through the power of Twitter, she has already had a profound impact on my life. For those of you who already know Teri, you know she is well networked and loves to connect people with each other and this has been amazing to have in a mentor. However, the impact Teri has had on me comes from her outlook and the way she carries herself. She will instantly call a woman out on self deprecating behavior and challenge them to own their strengths. One thing Teri is brilliant at is targeting an individual’s strengths and is never shy to bring them to light. The way she challenges self deprecating statements and celebrates other’s strengths is so natural and a genuine testament to her desire to empower others.


Jeanna Mastrodicasa @DrJtotheMastro

When Jeanna first introduced herself in my Grad class at UF my initial thought was I want to be just like her! She has a J.D., a PhD, was a Gainesville City Commissioner, worked with assessment, assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, and had an awesome personality. I set up a meeting with her and the rest is history. Jeanna allowed me to have some really amazing opportunities at the University of Florida. The one thing brilliant about Jeanna is her ability to instantly put things in to perspective. She is extraordinarily intelligent and staff refer to her when they need clarity on a situation. Jeanna is definitely a go to person when you have questions or are confused about something. One of the greatest things Jeanna has done for me is never questioned my abilities but always given me opportunities and expected me to succeed.


Myra Morgan

Myra Morgan

Myra’s list of accolades is extensive but getting the experience to work with Myra and have her continue to be a mentor in my career is a true blessing. Myra, like Jeanna, fearlessly provided me with opportunities to grow during grad school. While the blessings of those opportunities taught me loads of lessons, the way Myra carries herself continues to challenge me to be a better professional. Myra KNOWS her students. She knows if they’re married, have kids, what career they are in, where they live, and what’s going on in their lives. No matter when they were her student, she knows what’s going on and if she doesn’t can easily find out. As someone who forgets names easily, watching Myra remember all these details about students and how it is paying of in her role as a development officer is truly incredible. Finally, Myra always cares what’s going on in my life. I never expect a quick response from my e-mails to her because of her schedule but she is always quick to inquire what is going on with me professionally and personally. Again everything she does comes from a place of care and I know that’s why she has had so much success in the field.

I hope I have inspired you all, just as these women have inspired me. Who are your mentors? Maybe you never formally said they were your mentor but as you reflect they truly are a mentor to you. Take some time to thank them and appreciate all they have done. For those of you without a mentor, seek them out. You will be surprised the amazing individual waiting to impact your life.



Fearless Women

Blog Prompt Monday

It’s time for another Blog Prompt Monday! We hope you’ll join us in responding to the prompts. One of our responses will be posted on this blog later today, but look for more responses in the comments to this post.

Do you have any female mentors? Tell us about them and how they have influenced you.

Remember to post the link to your response in the comments to this post, and use the hashtag #sawomenblog on Twitter. Because we’re also talking about female mentors, you could also use the #WLSalt hashtag on Twitter. Looking forward to reading your posts!

Blog Prompt Monday

I am an Evangelist (for #wlsalt)

After meeting and bonding at the Women’s Leadership Institute (#WLI10), a group of women student affairs professionals created the #WLsalt hashtag on Twitter in an effort to support, affirm, lift, and transform (salt) the voices of women in higher education.

The #WLSalt hashtag was sparked by this email from Teri (@tbump) to the other founding #WLSalt sisters:

I want to use the hashtag to send tweets that support, lift, encourage, promote women leaders. And, to invite others who do the same to use it as well building a network of women focused on consciously choosing to push women forward. I watch the twitter stream and women Student Affairs professionals are quick to devalue their work/skills/smarts. I send at least 1 DM a day to someone who has publicly diminished herself. I’m looking to help build their self esteem, self respect, and encourage them to take their place at the table with confidence and the support of women like us. We can create a network of women who value what matters and will enthusiastically help each other achieve, score the best opportunities and see this world as their oyster. Are you in?

Once the hashtag was created and the “salt sisters” shared the story behind their new initiative at sawomenlead, they each reached out and invited supporters to join the movement as “evangelists.” I am an evangelist.

As an evangelist, I intend to use the #WLsalt hashtag on tweets that:

  • Support: Provide support, connections, and resources for leadership, academic, and career opportunities
  • Affirm: Highlight the success of women as leaders at all levels
  • Lift: Lift up the voices that may be quieted in other venues
  • Transform: Facilitate the continued success of woman in higher education

Please join us as we advance and support all women in the academe.

Note that none of the SA Women Talk Tech bloggers were at the original #WLsalt meeting, but we support their goals and consider ourselves “#WLSalt sisters.”

Cross-posted to Brenda Bethman’s personal blog at http://brendabethman.com/2011/02/26/i-am-an-evangelist-for-wlsalt/

I am an Evangelist (for #wlsalt)