By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The third New York Celebration of Women in Computing Conference (NYC-WiC) is taking place in Syracuse this year, and School of Information Studies (iSchool) students, staff members, groups, and alumnae are part of its planning and presentations.

The conference, scheduled Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, is the regional event modeled after the international Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. It is designed to promote the academic, social, and professional growth of participants, bringing together students, faculty and technology leaders. They share research, learn about computing opportunities, network with other women in academia and industry, and explore issues common to women in computing.

Five iSchool students from the It Girls Alumnae executive board will make a poster presentation and host a panel discussion during the conference, and iSchool alumna Jessica Santana G’13, co-founder of Brooklyn on Tech and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for General Assembly, is a conference presenter.  

Presenting during the poster session (from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17), are undergraduates Elizabeth Griffin; Chelsea Hawkins; Christie Jasmin, Rosaly Salcedo, and Megan Swanson. They also will participate in a panel discussion on Saturday (April 18) from 10 to 11 a.m. Both activities are designed to share their efforts to build community among women who have attended the iSchool’s It Girls Overnight Retreat program, a weekend of exploration activities regarding IT careers and the iSchool and Syracuse University experience. The students will discuss how they developed the idea for the It Girls Alumnae student group, and will share the successes, challenges, and lessons learned during their community-building initiative.  

Joining the panel will be Jessica Murray, iSchool development associate, the group’s staff advisor. “I am delighted that the It Girls Alumnae Executive Board submitted two proposals for this year’s NYCWIC conference, and am thrilled that both were accepted,” Murray said. She noted that the group’s “decision to take part in the conference in this significant way is impressive. They decided to not just attend the event, but to contribute to the program and share information about what they learned through their experiences for the benefit of other attendees.”

The iSchool’s WIT-Grad and WIT-U organizations have sponsored registration fees so that several of their members can attend. The iSchool also will host a table at a career fair during the conference. iSchool staff members Julie Walas Huynh, director of academic advising and student engagement; Sarah Weber, director of employer relations, Stephanie Worden, recruiting specialist; Sheila Clifford-Bova, faculty support manager; and several other iSchool staff members have been involved in the event planning.  Walas Huynh said she is “really proud of our female-centric groups at the iSchool who have become involved in the event. She said she “looks forward to watching our women learn, interact and grow from NYCWIC this year. This regional Grace Hopper conference will provide incredible networking opportunity to the women of the iSchool with like-minded women and some incredible thought leaders from across the state.” Weber noted that the event is not only a student-driven form of professional engagement, but a wonderful personal development opportunity for students, because it “welcomes and supports first-time presenters and encourages students to have the opportunity to meet similar students from other schools, with the same interests, and to have an active role in the conference.”

Keynote Speakers

Two keynote speakers are planned: Krista Claude, software engineer and business owner; and Florence Huban Suraci, Cisco Regional Sales Manager, U.S. Commercial East Data Center.

Claude recently retired froma successful corporate career spanning more than 25 years. From a start as a software engineer, she progressed to hold Chief Technology Officer (CTO) roles in medium and large businesses. She recently founded the coaching consultancy, go forward LLC and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute. Her presentation, “Thriving in Your Career, Truths and Tips,” will convey insights about creating a sustainable, successful and personally fulfilling career journey.

Florence Haban Suraci is regional sales manager for Data Center & Cloud Architecture for Cisco Commercial East Area, where she leads a highly profitable and successful sales team responsible for customers and partners from Maine to Virginia. Her talk, “How to Succeed in Business,” will focus on what she calls the “Suraci Seven Simple Steps” to success, and the definition of success. Florence began her career at IBM Corporation as a systems engineer, continuing on to Silicon Graphics, then joined Cisco in 1999. She has served on diversity panels and has been on a number of corporate and academic boards and programs in the Albany, NY area.

Event registration is open and can be accomplished online. The event schedule and program details are here, and more details about the conference are here