- Digital Campus Infrastructure
- IU Bloomington
Meet Lora Fox, an IU staff member who has learned to balance managing administrative systems, pursuing her master's degree, and making it to marching band events.
What is your current job position and how long have you been in that role?
I have been working in this industry for about twenty-five years and I have been with Indiana University for over seven years. I am currently working as the Leader of the Digital Campus Infrastructure. This is a new group that merged the web team from the former IU Communications with other web teams in UITS. I have been in this role for a year.
Can you describe your journey to where you are now?
My journey started in Mexico, 25 years ago, when I joined a technology research lab in my last year of college and then continued as junior faculty at the university. We did research on user interface, eye-tracking technology, VR, web design, CD-ROM authoring, and even AI. There was a lot of learning, since these were emerging technologies. When I started learning web design and development there was no formal education on this subject. Eventually, I started teaching a course on web design for a graduate certificate program.
Years later, I met my husband while doing a project with UIC, I got married and moved to the US. My first job here was as Senior Web Developer. Then I became web manager for a small liberal-arts college, the Illinois School for the Deaf, and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. All three of them were in Jacksonville, Illinois where I was living at the time. I was working from home remotely, while my kids were growing up.
I worked remotely for these institutions for about 10 years until I applied for an hourly position in the web team at IU Northwest. I started working for Indiana University Northwest in 2012. A year later, I became the web manager. In 2018, I became the web project manager in IT Communications. That group does so much for UITS and I learned a lot there. In 2019, I was invited to be part of the Digital Campus Design and Infrastructure.
I am also part of the steering committee at IUWIT and the IU Web Community of Practice, as a founding member of this last one.
How has your experience as a woman in tech been? As a person of color in tech?
When I first started at IU, there were many times when I was the only woman in the room at a web meeting. I sometimes second-guessed myself and was quiet, just listening. With time, I felt more confident and started seeing a change in my participation at the meetings. I decided to share my ideas and opinions, which helped the discussions. I am happy to see that things have changed over the years, at least in the web community, where we can see more women in web positions making great contributions and work. However, on the race issue, we could have more diverse representation in the workplace. There is sparce representation of people of color in the tech industry. In UITS, it is 4.3% for African Americans and 2.6% of Hispanic Latinos. I feel confident that we will start seeing a more diverse workforce. Indiana University is actively working on racial diversity and inclusiveness. At the workplace, we all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings. There is an instant benefit for everyone when we combine those experiences, it enriches the culture and the work we do for the university.
What has been your favorite project you have worked on in the past?
My favorite project was the redesign of the campus website for IU Northwest. I was asked to be the manager of the students helping with the project. On my first day, I met two other female students that were hired, it was their first day too. There was a great dynamic in the group. We created a culture of learning and we believed in each other’s potential. We finished the project three months ahead of time. I continued working with some of those students, who then graduated and became full-time employees. Currently, the two students I met on my first day are now the web managers at two regional campuses. Two other students who were part of that group are now senior developers in UITS. I am very proud of them.
What advice do you have for women looking to enter the tech field?
The tech field is everchanging, there are many opportunities to contribute. It requires constant learning and sharing knowledge. Join communities of practice where this is encouraged. Find a role model, a mentor if possible. Always know that we have a network of support within women in technology because we want to see other women succeed! Ask questions, be curious, be yourself, believe in yourself, and build your confidence. No one has all the answers and failing fast to learn quick is a must. Have a growth mindset, this is key for adapting to the demands of the tech industry. Your perspective is valuable, share it with others. Celebrate the success of other women in the tech field, be an advocate of their work. We need to lift each other up. Most of all, be kind to yourself and to others
What are your passions and hobbies outside of work?
I like cooking, hiking, traveling, reading, learning, watching movies, and spending time with my family. Currently, I am working on being more mindful and exercising healthier habits.