Growing up in Bolivia, Dr. Indira Guzman loved anything to do with math and logic. She gravitated towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), but she didn’t see many women in the field. Now as a college professor and information systems and cybersecurity scholar, she is hoping to encourage the next generation of young women to become leaders in STEM.

“My goal is to help others. I tell my students, ‘When you’re successful, I’m successful,’” says Guzman, who graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies with a masters in information management in 2002 and a PhD in information science and technology in 2006.

Guzman is an assistant professor of computer information systems at Cal Poly Pomona College of Business Administration in California, where she teaches management information systems, cybersecurity, information systems auditing, network security and cloud infrastructure.

She is also working as a consultant on a research project called ELLAS (Equality in Leadership for Latin American STEM), which aims to reduce the gender gap in STEM and achieve gender equity in leadership in universities, industries and public institutions in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer from the underrepresentation of women in STEM areas, according to Guzman’s research. 

“When it comes to initiatives and policies that promote and help women in leadership positions, there is very little to find. It’s very difficult to find that kind of data,” she says. “I’m just particularly happy to involve universities in Bolivia, because there’s very little research done in the country.”

So far, ELLAS has forged a partnership between eight universities in Latin America. The project team is mapping the factors influencing the career development of women in STEM, as well as documenting and analyzing successful and less successful initiatives to create an open data platform.

Syracuse Education Comes Full Circle

Before coming to Syracuse, Guzman earned a bachelors and masters in computer science engineering from Donetsk National Technical University in Ukraine. She is also a Fulbright alumnus and an active member of the Academy of Management, the Association of Computing Machinery SIGMIS Computers and People Research, ISACA, and the Association of Information Systems. 

She currently serves as president of the Latin American and Caribbean Chapter of the Association of Information Systems. 

In the nearly two decades since Guzman graduated from Syracuse with her PhD, she has worked in information technology management and compliance in banking, and has 16 years of academic and administrative experience in online doctoral programs in business and information systems.

Guzman’s education at Syracuse has come full circle now that her daughter has also graduated from the university with her Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 

“We really appreciate the university,” says Guzman. “We have a deep respect and appreciation.”