The It Girls overnight retreat at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) was created with the goal to engage, inspire and celebrate high school women and their potential in the technology field. As the program goes into its 5th year this fall, more than 350 young women have participated in the retreat, and over 60 of those have applied to the iSchool’s undergraduate programs.
Christie Jasmin ’17, participated in the It Girls retreat during her junior year of high school in 2012. Throughout her years at Syracuse, her involvement with the organization has evolved. As a freshman, she started off as a volunteer helping out with the retreat. The following year, she was asked to take the external social chair position of the It Girls Alumnae group, a student organization for past retreat participants. Through that Jasmin ran all social media platforms for the group and helped with events. By her junior year, Jasmin became the Vice President of the group.
Her participation in the It Girls retreat was the sole reason she decided to study at the iSchool. During the retreat Jasmin saw her creative potential and knew that the IT field would be the perfect space to expand that creativity.
In her first year at the iSchool, Jasmin met iSchool alumna and Board of Advisors member Liz Ngonzi ’92, who is CEO of Afrika Tikkun USA. Ngonzi was on an It Girls panel speaking about the different positions available in the technology field.
“What’s inspiring about Ms. Ngonzi is the silent lessons that she is teaching. For example where she has to be vulnerable in making sure her company succeeds. It requires an astute eye to combine corporate knowledge and her studies of technology,” said Jasmin.
A few years later, Jasmin was reunited with Ngonzi during an Afrika Tikkun site visit for EntreTech, a three-credit iSchool course that immerses students in the digital landscape of New York City for a week.
“Reuniting with her during the EntreTech trip was an opportunity to see her in a new light. My first view of Ms. Ngonzi was more of a corporate one, like a standard tech position where she has accomplished a lot. But on the trip, I got to see her in a new light and with an entrepreneurial lens,“ expressed Jasmin.
Following the EntreTech trip, both Jasmin and Ngonzi have kept in touch. This journey, that started off with It Girls has provided both Ngonzi and Jasmin with incredible opportunities.
“It is great to know when you make an impact on someone’s life like that,” said Ngonzi. “That is my point of being an alum, sharing my story and providing them with inspiration, it’s all about paying it forward.”
Along with the It Girls, Jasmin is involved in several other student organizations at the iSchool. She is the treasurer of the Black and Latino Information Studies and Technology Support (BLISTS) and the public social chair for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Jasmin is also a member of Women in Technology (WIT) and Belt.