- IU Bloomington
1. How does it feel to be receiving an Outstanding Staff Mentor/Advocate award from the IU Center of Excellence for Women in Technology?
I am honored to be receiving an Outstanding Staff Mentor/Advocate award from the IU Center of Excellence for Women in Technology.
2. What is your job position, how long have you been working in that position?
I have a staff position (Director of Technology) and an adjunct faculty position (Adjunct Assistant Professor) in the IU Cognitive Science Program. I’ve been working for the Cognitive Science Program for 25 years, most of that time in these positions. My current positions include a variety of responsibilities including project management, supervision of staff, web and software development, ensuring IT security, and teaching. I have students working with me on research projects related to IT.
3. What was your path to get to where you are now? Were you always in tech?
I have an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Logic with a minor in Women’s Studies (which is now called Gender Studies). I have taken several tech related courses and had internships which gave me tech experience. I pursued my Ph.D. here at IU with the intention of taking a tenure track position in academia after I graduated. When I finished my Ph.D., family needs required that I stay in Bloomington, but since most universities don’t hire their own grad students for tenure track positions, I had to seek a different path. With the guidance of some wonderful mentors, I first took a Visiting Faculty position in the Philosophy Department at IU and then a programmer position in the Cognitive Science Program at IU. Given I have a Ph.D. I was able to add academic responsibilities including teaching. Although my path and position are somewhat non-traditional, they are beneficial to IU and to me. People who work in tech at IU are supporting teaching and research, but many have backgrounds primarily or exclusively in tech. My academic background, my past work experience, and my current teaching experience give me insight that allows me to provide a bridge between the world of academia and the world of tech.
4. How has your experience as a woman in tech been? Have you ever been in a position where you were the only woman in the room?
I have found the lack of women in tech to be frustrating at times in my career. While I have had some wonderfully supportive male colleagues, there are still too many others who don’t value diversity strongly enough to put their words saying they value diversity into action that would increase the numbers of women in tech and the number of women in tech leadership roles. Even now in 2021, I am in tech meetings where I am the only woman in the room.
5. What advice do you have for current women employed in tech or looking to enter the tech industry?
I encourage current women employed in tech or looking to enter the tech industry:
6. What are your passions and hobbies outside of work?
Out of the workplace my primary passion is my family and my volunteer work with children. I have parented biological, adoptive, and foster children, and I have volunteered with a variety of organizations where I have enjoyed mentoring children.