The NYCWiC Conference is an annual event held for Women in the Computing and STEM related fields. Students and others in attendance have the unique opportunity to network, share stories and challenges, while building a professional community.

Poster Competition: Make an App for That!

It Girls Alumnae attended last year’s conference, and competed in a Diversity Poster competition. The positive experiences we had at the last NYCWiC conference convinced us to reapply and compete in the Diversity Poster competition this year. For this competition, we created a poster to highlight the mission and goals of our organization, as well as events previously held to integrate all generations of It Girls.

The It Girls Alumnae "Make an App for That!" poster for NYCWiC 2016.

The It Girls Alumnae “Make an App for That!” poster for NYCWiC 2016.

We focused on the Fall 2015 ‘Make an App for That!’ session we developed and taught to middle school girls scouts through the Girls are I.T. program at the iSchool. The purpose of this session was to teach the young girls how to conceptually design an app that addresses societal issues (like poverty or climate change) and how they would help address those issues through the form of an app.

Our poster also highlighted that although about 74% of middle school girls express interest in the STEM field, only .04% of girls decide to purse related studies when preparing to attend college. As an organization, this is one of the gaps we strive to understand and close by not only inspiring young girls to advance their interest, but also by providing them with support systems and resources needed.

During the conference, we received positive feedback by those who stopped by our table and gained insights into our workshop, and for the second consecutive year, we won runner up! We also participated in a panel where fellow It Girls spoke about what being an It Girls means to them and shared insights regarding being a student at Syracuse University.

Next year we will go for the win, but we are proud of our achievements and fortunate to have been surrounded by a number of intelligent women leaders who have made diverse impacts and are giving back to the community.

Women in Tech Workshops

Beyond the Imposter Syndrome was one of many workshops hosted. This workshop allowed for participants to evaluate the negative perceptions of women (e.g. weak, quiet, small) and analyze how these stereotypes impact the behaviors of both men and women. We delved into these stereotypes as a group and discussed how women wish to be perceived and how we can continue to support one another through shared experiences and telling our stories.

We also discussed the significant difference between empathy and sympathy, and the idea that many tend to use these terms interchangeably. In essence, these terms describe different experiences: unlike sympathy, empathy allows for one to directly connect and share another person’s problem as if it were their own. This allows for a person to connect with another on a personal level.

Not Getting Lost in Technology Translation

The NYCWiC Conference also allowed for students such as myself, to connect what we have learned in the classroom, with information discussed during workshops and even the keynote addresses. During the keynote address on Friday by Phyllis Frankel, Ph.D., a professor at the NYU Computer Science and Engineering, I could understand and relate to the database references, since I had previously taken database management at the iSchool. Similarly, the keynote address on Saturday by a Amanda Stent, a researcher at Yahoo Labs, touched on material discussed in my system analysis and programming courses at the iSchool, which made it more intriguing and engaging.

NYCWiC is Worth It!

In all, the conference was a great opportunity to take what was learned in the classroom and see how it applies to real world situations. There were also numerous opportunities to network with professionals across distinct computing industries and interact with students who share similar interest and could provide insights into their professional experiences gained through internships and working at different companies.