By: Diane Stirling
“Africa, Tech and Women: The New Faces of Development,” is the topic of this year’s keynote presentation for the School of Information Studies’ (iSchool) Orange Central/BLISTS Annual Alumni Reunion event.
Slated for Friday, November 9, the day of speakers, panel programs, and alumni-student networking features a diverse group of iSchool graduates who are visiting to share their wealth of knowledge and experience.
“Alumni bring a diverse and valuable perspective from applying their degrees in the real world and sharing how the skills and knowledge gained at the School have played out in their various careers,” noted Barbara Settel, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.
The event also allows alumni the opportunity to become updated on what current students are experiencing and how far the school has come, she said. Settel noted that many alumni attended the iSchool when it existed without its current home in Hinds Hall, and without newer programs such as studies in data science, entrepreneurship and social media. “To come here and see how the school is functioning on the cutting edge, to hear students talk about their startups and attending Spring Break in Silicon Valley, you can’t put a price on that,” she acknowledged. “This event keeps alumni connected to the school, and as we extend the reputation of the school, that extends the reputation of every graduate’s degree. Being here helps them appreciate where they’ve come from, where they’ve gone to, and the value of their degree,” Settel observed.
Presenting the day’s keynote address is Elizabeth “Liz” Ngonzi (IST, B.S.,’92), who will discuss the myriad ways African women now are applying technology (including the use of social media, mobile advertising, internet connectivity and digital advocacy) to advance the continent’s development.
Ngonzi spoke on the same topic at a panel presentation at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in March. Her keynote talk is scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon in Room 111 of Hinds Hall.
As founder and CEO of Amazing Taste, a values-led consulting firm, Ngonzi is an international expert on technology and development and a recognized authority on women/minorities in entrepreneurship and leadership, and how technological innovations advance causes and empower disenfranchised people.
Through her consultancy, she connects nonprofits, corporations and philanthropists to jointly achieve their strategic objectives. The firm has advised domestic and international educational institutions, gender rights organizations, healthcare foundations, political campaigns and youth development organizations, and works frequently with NGOs to advance the status of African women and girls and to improve their communities. Ngonzi also is the 2011-2012 Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, and teaches fundraising technology at New York University’s George H. Heyman Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising. Originally from Uganda, she spent 10 years in corporate marketing, sales and business consulting management, working at Digital Equipment Corporation, MICROS Systems, Inc., and Arthur Andersen.
Lunch will follow Ngonzi’s talk, and alumi, students, and guests are welcome to attend. (RSVPs are requested; RSVP to Barbara Settel at: email@example.com; (315) 443-5604, or online at: https://ischool.syr.edu/contact/blistsreunion.aspx.)
Following lunch, four alumni panelists will share advice and experiences from their career paths in a program at 1:30 p.m. in Room 337 of Hinds Hall. They are:
- DuWayne Harrison ’95, Consultant, CIO Advisory Services PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
- Anthony Colon ’03, Analyst, Barclays American
- Nichole May ’12, Technology Consultant, Protiviti
- Alec Truitt ’11, DoubleClick New Business Sales Account Manager, Google Inc.
A student roundtable will provide an informal forum for discussion of students’ internship experiences. Several students will discuss their positions at Rounded Development, Fox News, MLB.com, JPMorgan Chase, and other companies. That event begins at 2:30 p.m., and also is slated for Hinds Hall Room 337.
The BLISTS Annual Reunion is combined on the same date this year as Syracuse University’s Alumni Reunion event, Orange Central. (For additional information about Syracuse University Orange Central alumni weekend activities, see the university’s website at: http://www.syr.edu/alumni/events/orangecentral/index.html.)
BLISTS, the iSchool’s Black and Latino Information Studies Support group, is a student-run organization. It focuses on educating African American and Latino students, as well as other student populations, about information science and technology, providing computer literacy support, and building a corporate and alumni network.
In addition to BLISTS, other student-interest organizations(Peer Advisors, WIT, ISGO and BeIT) will present exhibit tables, and their student officers and members will on hand to talk about group activities and goals.
Student-led tours also are scheduled throughout the day to showcase new programs and facilities in Hinds Hall.