Diversity and Inclusion

Female STEM Majors Enjoy a “Women’s Nite Out”

Cynthia Worrad

December 12, 2018—Women have been traditionally underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but that is changing due in part to systematic networking and mentoring efforts, including by IBM. As they have for the last several years, 17 female Marist students had the opportunity to attend IBM’s 4th Annual Hudson Valley Women’s Technical Nite Out, an evening of networking and career development. The students, who represent both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computing Technology, were accompanied by Assistant Deans of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics Dede Hourican and Cynthia Worrad.

Held at IBM’s Poughkeepsie campus, this one-of-a-kind event drew more than 100 attendees from local colleges, industry, and the not-for-profit sector to network with other Hudson Valley women with an interest in technology. In addition, female developers, IT business leaders, and aspiring technology leaders participated in a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, sharing their stories of professional success and challenges. Among the distinguished panelists were Elizabeth Bradley, President of Vassar College; Maria Boonie, Vice President, Offering Management IBM Z and LinuxONE at IBM; Stacy Hobson, Technical Assistant to Dario Gil, COO, IBM Research and VP, AI and Quantum; Christina Altomare, Strategy and Integration Leader - GBS Marketing at IBM; Lara Litchfield-Kimber, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum; Lisa Qu, Co-Founder of Fashion Intelligence Bot (FIBO); Dr. Jessica Geer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Dutchess Community College; and Cynthia Worrad, Assistant Dean of Marist’s School of Computer Science and Mathematics.

For the Marist students, the Women’s Technical Nite Out was an opportunity to network, gain career development advice, and ask questions, all in a supportive environment of women helping other women pursue careers in the STEM fields. The participating students were Simoni Handoo ’19 of Shanghai City, China; Katerina Tzannes ’20 of Oakland Gardens, New York; Federica Bruno ’19 of Staten Island, New York; Haley Tyler ’22 of Spring Valley, New York; Allie Texter ’22 of Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey; Laura Florez Raigosa ’19 of Litchfield, Connecticut; Jae Kyoung Lee ’19 of South Korea; Joanna Cohen ’19 of Poughkeepsie, New York; Alexa Javellana ’19 of Floral Park, New York; Prabhleen Kaur ’19 of Delhi, India; Melissa Aguilar ’22 of Chicago, Illinois; Amy Pitts ’20 of New Haven, Vermont; Aishwarya Pagella ’19 of Hyderabad, India; Jill Oestreicher ’20 of North Haven, Connecticut; Rachel Hawks ’19 of Poughkeepsie, New York; Salma Abououkal ’19 of Poughquag, New York; and Kayla Mesmain ’19 of Beacon, New York. As one of the students put it, “Thank you for an excellent evening. It was inspiring to hear from so many talented women. I definitely want to participate again next year!” 

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