By: J.D. Ross
For the fourth year in a row, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) is welcoming over 100 high school junior and senior women to Syracuse University to take part in The It Girls Overnight Retreat.
Taking place Sunday, November 9 and Monday, November 10 in Hinds Hall and across the campus, this program exposes high school women to the information science field of study.
“We currently have 105 girls registered from 9 states,” said Julie Walas Huynh, director of academic advising and student engagement at the iSchool. “They’re bringing some serious energy, enthusiasm and tech savvy-ness to the program this weekend.”
The iSchool created the retreat in 2011 as an experience to inspire attendees to consider an education and career in technology.
“We responded to a call to action,” noted Huynh. “Our country is experiencing a deficit of female talent and interest in the STEM disciplines, and we want to help. It is a loss for us not have enough of these women – inherently collaborative, intuitive, inquisitive, multi-tasking leaders – in our community of information innovators.”
During the two-day retreat, attendees will participate in a series of workshops and challenges designed to introduce them to the information science field, and encourage them to work together to solve problems. They’ll also spend the night together in slumber-party fashion in the University’s Flanagan gymnasium.
Staffed by iSchool faculty, staff and students, the It Girls Retreat also welcomes a number of alumni and industry guests this year as facilitators and mentors. These guests include:
- Kat Manalac, partner at Y Combinator
- Dana Sherrell, engineering manager at SendGrid
- Sandra Reid, attorney
- Dayanna Torres, strategic projects manager at the NYC Housing Authority
- Zannah Bailey, consultant at IBM
If past feedback from earlier retreats is any indicator, many of this year’s participants are likely to find something at the iSchool that appeals to them. Since 2011, 80 percent of the seniors who have attended a retreat have applied to Syracuse University – half of them to the iSchool.
Members of the University community are invited to the Speak Out and Closing Ceremony portion of the retreat on Monday afternoon in Hendricks Chapel. Beginning at 1:30 PM, this final event will encourage participants to speak up and reflect on what they learned over the past 24 hours of the retreat.