I am a journalism student with a very business- and humanities-focused education. I do not have a traditional tech background, and until interning for the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT), my interests in STEM did not extend far beyond the latest Apple products or innovations in the health field.
The 2015 Techie Women Have More… conference opened my eyes to a world of empowering, inspiring and driven women making positive changes in the world.
I kicked off the conference Friday morning (March 13, 2015) with the “Making the Most of Your Mobile Device” breakout session, where I learned inside tips and tricks for optimizing campus tech tools such as Box and Connect. Throughout the rest of the day I attended sessions on personal branding, creating a data management plan, managing your digital footprint and networking tips. I also sat in on engaging faculty Flash Talks covering topics such as research optimization, PowerPoint tips, simplifying your tech life, digital privacy and eco-friendly tech products.
Friday ended with a networking mocktail hour and a delicious Tudor Room dinner with leading tech professionals. The networking event and dinner were the highlights of the conference for me because I was able to speak with both men and women from a variety of tech professions. I loved the keynote address from Arizona State University’s Mitzi Montoya, and felt that her inspiring words were the perfect way to end day one of the conference.
Saturday offered even more networking and career development opportunities for students. I attended several sessions that day, but my favorite was the “Unexpected Career Path” panel featuring three IU alumnae who all found themselves working in technology without a STEM background. The alumnae encouraged students to take risks and not be afraid of change. They also encouraged young women in the room not only to find mentors, but also to be mentors for others in need of a helping hand.
Saturday’s Career Information Expo provided students with the opportunity to speak with representatives from a variety of leading tech companies. This one-on-one networking connected students of all tech levels with potential employers and allowed them to share resumes, ask questions and search for internships or jobs.
The conference was an incredibly rewarding experience. I met passionate and intelligent students, faculty, staff and professionals, and left the conference with an even greater interest in technology.