Last March, the UT Dallas Women Who Compute (WWC) club hosted its first Annual Speed Mentoring event. The event provided Computer Science and Software Engineering students with the opportunity to connect with local female technologists working within the tech industry. The event was co-sponsored by the UT Dallas Computer Science Department, who continuously work to provide a strong community for female technologists.
The event, which took place in the Jindal School of Management, provided students with the chance to talk to local women in the tech industry in a more relaxed and open dinner setting. Mentors from Bank of America, Capital One, Celanese, IBM, Raytheon, State Farm, Texas Instruments, USAA, and Verizon were in attendance. The Women Who Compute Speed Mentoring event allowed students to sit with various tech industry mentors for fifteen minutes before switching tables. Each table included a series of sample questions that students could ask if they were unsure about what to ask. Participants were able to learn about the lives of the mentors, learn about the industry from a woman’s perspective, and ask questions that would help give them a better idea of what is to come and how to prepare. Some of the sample questions included, “How did you get where you are today, what is the field like for women? What is your best advice for college students looking for jobs or internships, what has been your biggest career challenge, and what does your company do to address the lack of women in technology fields?”
Esther Goldstein, President of the WWC club at UT Dallas and an Undergraduate studying at the UT Dallas Computer Science Department, remarks on the success of the event saying, “When the officers began planning this event, we had no idea how the event would turn out. All of us were really pleased with the outcome of the event and that we were able to get such amazing and inspiring mentors to attend. All of the participants enjoyed the conversations they had with the mentors and appreciated the chance to ask the mentor whatever they wanted.”
She continued by thanking her fellow officers, “I am so proud of my fellow WWC officers and I am thankful to everyone who attended the event to help make it a success. Here at the WWC we try to organize events that will connect UT Dallas Computer Science and Software Engineering students with women working in technology, with the hopes of inspiring them to stay in the field and pursue their goals.”
Dr. Janell Straach, UT Dallas CS professor, works closely with the WWC by ensuring that technology minded women at UT Dallas have a strong community by hosting events, award ceremonies, luncheons, talks, clubs, and trips outside the UT Dallas Campus. She is an instrumental part in making sure there are various events at the UT Dallas campus that offer a strong community for female technologists. Events include the Women Who Compute (WWC) Club and monthly talks presented by the Grace Series where students are able to hear empowering talks from fellow female members in technology, as well as events such as speed mentoring dinners and the Grace Hopper Conference to which students are provided with the opportunity to attend (see story here). Dr. Straach, who was one of the founding members of the WWC Club at UT Dallas, was instrumental in the creation of last summer’s two residential camps for female technologists in high school soon to be entering college.
Formed in 2014, The WWC is a UT Dallas organization that promotes, celebrates, and supports female technologists in the community at large. The mission of the WWC organization is to cultivate a community of female computer science, software engineering, and engineering students at UT Dallas, provide mentorship and support to women in computing, provide personal and professional development, and to encourage women to pursue a career in the field of computer science and engineering. The WWC has held events such as Computers and Coffee with Google, Speed Mentoring Dinner, Computer Science and Software Engineering First Year Girls Dinner, and volunteering for various events around the DFW Metroplex.
From the left: Esther Goldstein, President of the WWC, and Sruthi Chappidi, WWC Treasurer
From the Left: Esther Goldstein (WWC President), Diksha Sharma (WWC Marketing), Sruthi Chappidi (WWC Treasurer), Lauren Johnson (WWC Secretary), and sitting down Yenney Cabrera Hernandez (WWC Vice President) and Ashley Handoko (WWC Public Relations)
Please click here to view additional photos from the UT Dallas Women Who Compute’s First Annual Speed Mentor event & click here to see photos from past UT Dallas CS related events.
About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.