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

SA Tech Woman to Highlight: Leslie Dare

by Meghann Martinez

As a young SA tech professional I am constantly seeking women leaders in SA tech. Today I’d like to spend sometime talking about my fellow NC Triad neighbor, Leslie Dare. Leslie is the Director of Student Affairs Technology Services at North Carolina State University.

Leslie is originally from West Virginia but has called North Carolina home since 1989 with her spouse and 15-year old daughter.  Leslie’s biggest hobbies are reading and genealogy.

You can find a wealth of knowledge about Leslie here. I recently connected with Leslie and she was nice enough to answer a few of my questions.

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

Gosh, no! I was a business major as an undergrad. It’s really my experience as an RA (resident adviser) that got me back in to higher ed. I worked in banking for a couple of years, then I decided to go for a master’s (and eventually doctorate) in higher ed and have been in the field ever since.

I just naturally morphed into a technology position over time. I’m a geek, I’ll admit it.

I will say that sometimes people call me “an IT person” and I really don’t think of myself that way. I am proud to say that I am a student affairs professional, and my area of expertise and responsibility just happens to be technology…like it might be career counseling or residence life for others. (I hope my IT colleagues don’t take offense! But I do think it is one thing that makes me somewhat different from the other IT directors on our campus.)

2) SA Tech is still a novelty with few dedicated positions. With that said, how do feel the evolution of SA Tech has grown during your professional career?

It’s been fun to watch. One benefit of the novelty of the position is that we are a somewhat small community, which makes for great working relationships and friendships. I have a few thoughts about technology in student affairs — I guess you could call it my philosophy about tech in SA. I think the evolution I have witnessed is that more and more administrators in student affairs are finally dedicating the necessary resources to the efficient use of technology, instead of just letting it happen.

Also, a great benefit is that talking about tech gets you access and visibility that you might not otherwise have. My responsibility to represent our division on the technology front has opened up other doors for us as well, and I feel that I’ve been an ambassador for the entire division with the rest of campus. Given that SA folks sometimes feel like second-class citizens as compared to their academic counterparts on campus, this has been really helpful for us.

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

It’s interesting being one of the very few females in my role. The vast majority of the time, my gender plays zero role in my ability to do my job. When I think about my role as a woman, I mostly focus on how I can be an advocate for any individual who may be marginalized — whether that’s due to race or gender or sexual orientation or disability (and the list goes on!). I spent almost 8 years as our university’s sexual harassment prevention officer (yes, a very big career change from that to tech!) so I feel like I have a great insight into the lives of our students, faculty and staff who may be having a negative experience on campus. So these days I focus on ways I can be an advocate for others. I admit that I could do more on this front, and so your question is a good reminder that I need to get back to it!

4) Is there a project you’re currently working on in your division that has you excited?

There are a couple of projects along those lines. One is ramping up our asset management system. That sounds a little dull for many folks, but being able to have data at our fingertips means we can help departments make strategic budget decisions regarding technology. We’ve been trying to get away from that model where you buy new computers when there happens to be lapsed salary from a vacant position, and instead make a long-term plan to have a very clear life-cycle replacement plan. Everything flows better from there — the end user experience, and our ability to support faculty, staff and students. Not to mention a huge savings!

The other project that has me juiced is mapping out the technology needs of our student organizations on campus. We are meeting with student leaders to see what resources they are using or would like to have. Our campus does provide some services and tools to student organizations, but we could do a better job and delivering those. We also know there are several unmet needs, such help with organization websites. So I’m leading the charge with a group that includes students, our student affairs professional staff that advise student organizations, and representatives from our central technology units.


SA Tech Woman to Highlight: Leslie Dare

Women in Technology Spotlight: Amy Jorgensen

by Kathryn Magura

One of the things we like to do on the blog is highlight some of the amazing women who work in the field. As women who work with technology in student affairs, we want to take time to acknowledge some of our colleagues and celebrate their achievements. Hopefully, this will help encourage other women to follow in our footsteps some day.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Amy Jorgensen. Amy is the Marketing Coordinator for the University of Florida office of Housing & Residence Education, and has a true gift for personal branding and social media. This past fall, Amy was awarded the “Best of” program at the annual ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference in Orlando, Florida for her program: “Rock Out Your Page – Make the Most of Your Facebook Presence”. Amy got her degree at the University of Florida in Business Marketing, and is currently working on a masters degree in International Business. After graduating, Amy had a brief stint working for Mickey Mouse, but Amy decided to return to her passion of working in marketing for higher education with a focus on housing.

During our conversation, Amy offered the following advice regarding technology:

“Be open and willing to learn – as you would be with other things in life. Technology can be intimidating, so you need to put yourself out there. I haven’t taken any classes on using technology or MS programs or social media; I taught myself. When all else fails, use the power of Google. Heck, I taught myself how to use Photshop and HTML via Google!“

As we talked, I could hear Amy’s passion and enthusiasm for working with technology and social media. I asked her if she had any female role models, and she said the following:

Teri Bump is incredibly motivating, and has an amazing way of leveraging technology to enhance her personal network. Ann Marie Klotz and Stacy Oliver are social media rockstars who have connected our professional community on a higher level due to technology. Liz Gross is amazing too – she has a tremendous way of staying professional and keeping content relevant and new. Liz also has a great way of demonstrating her personality and connecting to others. All these women have been tremendously supportive of other women who want to get connected via social media, and they all epitomize showing an authentic integrity in their personal brand.”

Amy also notes that her supervisor, TJ Logan, was instrumental in encouraging her to even join Twitter. “I saw TJ making all these connections to amazing professionals, and thought it would be a great way to build my network.”

During our conversation, I was reminded that Amy and I would never have met if it weren’t for social media, and our shared interest in utilizing technology to serve and interact with students. We certainly never would have spent a day at EPCOT while attending the ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference together this last fall!

So who do you see as a female leader in technology within student affairs?

Women in Technology Spotlight: Amy Jorgensen

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