Over 60 Syracuse University iSchool alumni, students, and friends gathered on Saturday, April 28 to celebrate the founding of BLISTS (Black and Latino Information Science and Technology Support) 25 years ago.
A BLISTSful Return was really three events in one: A 25th birthday for BLISTS, an alumni reunion for BLISTS founders, e-Board members, and general body members, and mini-conference and networking event.
Each One, Teach One
A BLISTSful Return wanted to reflect the BLISTS value of “each one, teach one.” Naturally, the event provided two educational opportunities for all participants.
The Women in Technology Panel included three iSchool alumnae:
- Lisa Lindsay-Lavelanet ’93, Strategic Program Manager with SunTrust
- Erika Monell ’96 G’97, IT Business Relationship Manager with BD and Professional Life & Relationship Coach
- Fatma Ngom ’16, Senior Consulting Analyst at Accenture
iSchool senior and BLISTS president Melanie Moreaux ’18 moderated the panel.
“As a woman going to work in technology, the panel was extremely important to me,” said Moreaux. “I was able to learn the importance of mentorship/sponsorship within one’s career. I also learned the importance of creating a ‘blueprint’ of your life and career in order for one to have control of their career and personal goals.”
While the Women in Technology Panel took place, iSchool alum DuWayne Harrison ’95 delivered the Cloud Solutions Workshop. Harrison is currently a director in Wipro’s North American Data Center and Cloud Practice.
“The biggest lesson I took from that session is that a lot of companies are moving their data to the cloud and security is becoming a big concern in the field,” said Kobby Tettey ’17 G’18. “I also learned that cloud computing is cost-effective, agile, and allows companies to manage heaps of data.”
The Legacy of BLISTS
The founding of BLISTS in 1992 created opportunities for minority students at the iSchool that otherwise would not exist. As a result, iSchool students recognized that BLISTS’ network has benefitted hundreds of students.
“None of this would have been possible without the vision, dedication and determination of our founding e-board members,” said Tettey in a speech for the founding e-Board. The students recognized Jason Mills ’95 G’96, Myra Miller ’95, Lisa Lindsay-Lavelanet ’93, and Anthony Percival ’95 G’96 for founding BLISTS.
Jason Mills closed the event with a keynote speech, where he applauded the organic continuation of BLISTS for the past 25 years.
“I’m most appreciative of the love, unity, and connection that has continued on that’s been self-driven. We’ve never had to come back and force BLISTS to be; BLISTS has just existed from the pure drive that all of you have had over the years,” said Mills.
Mills also stressed the importance that BLISTS alumni support students and each other in the professional world.
“As you go through life, whether you’re 25 years into your career or you’re just starting your career, you have to find relationships with people who are not just like you, but also have positive values and positive interests … and you build those bridges. Those bridges will stand the test of time.”
A BLISTSful Return was co-sponsored by BLISTS and the iSchool’s Office of Alumni Relations. Leading the way were the BLISTS e-Board: Melanie Moreaux, Vice President Leslie Sanchez ’18, Public Relations Chair Hawa Touray ’20, Secretary Justin Quinonez ’18, and Graduate Representative Kobby Tettey.
Next BLISTS President Shanyah Saunders ’19 contributed her time in the fall 2017 semester. Former BLISTS Graduate Representative Mariel Rosario G’18 also volunteered to plan the event.
The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Jason, Myra, and Lisa, who mentored the current e-Board and promoted the event to fellow BLISTS, iSchool, and Syracuse University alumni.