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Women in I.T.
Emerging Tech

Tuesday, October 2


Registration Open and Continental Breakfast sponsored by HP in Banquet Hall

8:30-8:45AM | NIC Auditorium

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Mark Askren Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer
Donde Plowman Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer

8:45-9:45AM | NIC Auditorium

Keynote Presentation sponsored by Huskertech & Apple

How To Reach Your Potential Everyday
Meghan O'Leary Olympian | Speaker | Entrepreneur


Refreshment Break sponsored by Palo Alto, CDW-G, Integration Partners & Adobe in Banquet Hall


Concurrent Session 1

"He's Assertive, She's Aggressive: Recognizing patterns of unconscious bias in the workplace" | Room A1/A2
Andrea Mascher Lead Database Administrator
University of Iowa

Social science has shown that we tend classify others by gender, race, or other physical characteristics and instinctively react based on stereotypes and cultural norms. These automatic prejudices (often called unconscious bias) may be a contributing factor to the disproportionate success of white men in STEM when compared to equally qualified women or minorities.

The key difference between unconscious bias and intentional discrimination is people that participate in it are often motivated to end these behaviors when they're brought to their attention. This discussion will cover some common patterns of unconscious bias that occur in the workplace and offer real, concrete actions to intervene as an employee, a manager, or an organization. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Many well-meaning allies can have difficulty detecting instances of bias because they don't know what it actually looks like in practice.  Defining the patterns creates the necessary awareness to take action as individuals and begin meaningful change within an organization

"A New Rubric for IT Recruiting and Retention" | Room A3
Sandy Silk Director of Information Security Education & Consulting
Harvard University

From lengthy vacancies in unfilled positions to a choice of strong candidates within weeks of job listings. Hear how Harvard Information Security and Harvard WIT (Women in Technology) are leading a culture shift in our IT community that extends from recruiting through promotion. Participants will explore useful resources and techniques to remove inadvertent biases in your processes so you can better attract, retain, and develop strong talent and inclusive teams in your organizations.

  • Resist assumptions about degrees and certifications
  • Choose your words carefully
  • Network, network, network
  • Question everything
  • Prioritize your pain points and potentials
  • Support ongoing professional development

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The model and techniques we're now using in our talent development at Harvard Information Security/Harvard IT are applicable to any organization seeking to attract, hire, and develop a work force that is inclusive in nature and focused on

achieving strategic goals through a collaborative community approach. I've hired two new employees onto my team this past fiscal year, extending offers to both within 90 days of posting the job opening. In both cases, the best

candidates were women who were attracted to Harvard because of the Women in IT outreach we've been conducting and promoting on social media and conferences.

Program documents

"Evidence-based leadership: Using data to build cross-campus collaborations" | Room D
Alia Lancaster, PhD Senior Research Analyst
University of Maryland College Park

Have you ever found yourself in a meeting or governance group where high-stakes decisions seemed to be based on the anecdotal experiences of a few rather than the statistical trends of the many? Have you been subjected to business objectives aimed at increasing productivity, efficiency, best-practice, or engagement without the tools needed to measurably gauge progress towards established goals? The use of systematically collected institutional data can often influence, for the better, executive-level insights and conclusions when mined and reported on with intention and purpose. Collaboratively establishing goals and conferring data-based observations, as well continually refining both, can uncover unforseen gaps in representation and/or give voice to those not often heard. While not completely objective, the use of data can begin to level the playing fieldand bring to light unknown gaps.

The session will provide an overview of the three basic principles of evidence-based leadership: (1) direction, (2) evidence, and (3) execution as well as the three organizational habits of the teams they lead: (1) decision, (2) action, and (3) learning (Barr, 2017). The session will conclude by reviewing  real-world applications of these principles and practices as they relate to high-stakes technology-related decisions within a major R1 institution.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Many institutes of higher education may find themselves to be data rich, but information poor. That is, a vast amount of data are often systematically collected without first establishing a-priori metrics against which to measurably demonstrate institutional progress. The information in this presentation will be relevant to all units and departments as it will provide concrete examples of how metrics were co-constructed by stakeholders across multiple organizational units.

Program documents

"Leveraging Community to Lead from the Middle" | Room B1/B2
Samantha Chilton Director, Web Services
USC Information Technology Services
Veronica Garcia Director, Emerging Systems Development
USC Information Technology Services
Karen Juday Director, Customer Service
USC Information Technology Services

Three IT leaders who built a community of practice for managers and directors in their organization will share the benefits of their approach, how it is influencing organization decision making and helping to shape a culture shift through a large-scale IT organizational transformation.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The audience will gain practical ideas on how to build a horizontal community of leaders within IT and other organizations, how to create channels to decision making, enhance respect, collaboration, and multi-directional communication.

Program documents
Managers Community Presentation - Women Advance IT - 10_02_18.pdf

"Advancing women in Information Technology through Inclusion" | NIC Auditorium
Donna Cumberland Executive Director, Academic Computing
Purdue University
Elizabett Hillery Manager, High Performance Computing Services
Purdue University
Laura Theademan Program Manager
Purdue University
Carolyn Ellis Program Manager
Purdue University
Marisa Brazil Program Manager
Purdue University

Purdue Research Computing has been a proven leader in cultivating future STEM professionals for over a decade with the goal of creating a diverse

workforce. We have built a pro-diversity workplace culture that embraces a variety of academic degrees, generations, demographics, expertise and

experience. Our diversity outreach efforts have organically evolved to

mentoring and developing students and young professionals through efforts like the establishment of the Purdue Women in HPC organization, mentoring Purdue’s first high school team to the 2017 Supercomputing Student Cluster Competition and first all-female team to the 2018 Supercomputing Student Cluster Competition. We also participate in and benefit from our central IT program for Emerging IT professionals.

We aspire to cultivate future leaders who will be engaged and empowered to share new ideas and perspectives and generate creative and innovative solutions. We are challenged to develop and mentor emerging leaders and to create a sense of “belongingness,” while still maintaining and encouraging a sense of uniqueness.

Our panel is comprised of professional female leaders who represent a widerange of backgrounds in higher education and who have a long history of serving as change advocates through our driving values of empowerment, humility, accountability and courage.


Concurrent Session 2

"Cybersecurity Escape Room Challenge" | Room A1/A2
Cheryl O'Dell Incident Response & Security Awareness Manager
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

IT Security Awareness is a struggle. People want to use computers and browse the internet safely; but do not really want to sit through a discussion or watch videos to be made aware of the latest security threats. This session will be an interactive and fun way to participate in security awareness. Do you have what it takes to solve the puzzles and catch the spy? Come and have some fun with a group of friends, or come make some new friends while figuring out the clues to solve the case in this Cybersecurity Escape Room challenge.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments:

The take aways will be multi-faceted. Participants will learn about: how to tell the difference between real emails and phishing or SPAM emails, how to use (and not use) USB drives, the importance of using strong passwords, how to think critically about a situation, how to work as a team.

"One Destination, Many Paths: Diversity of Skills in Academic IT" | Room A3
Margaret Wu Purdue University
Gladys Andino Purdue University
Marisa Brazil Purdue University

Think the IT field is open only to those who hold STEM degrees on a linear path? Think again! Join us for a facilitated discussion about the different paths this panel of professional women in Academic Technologies took to kick-start their careers. Think you won’t or don’t belong? Diverse people and skills produce the most successful (and lucrative) ideas and solutions for organizations. Soft skills, creativity, and science specific backgrounds are just as important as technical skills in the IT field, making teams more successful and innovative. Explore and discuss the variety of opportunities and resources that can help you get started in the technology field.

This highly interactive session will give attendees the chance to ask a diverse group of Academic Technologies professionals about alternate paths to careers in IT. The presenters will use the classroom engagement app, Hotseat, to allow for participation in the round-table discussion. Presenters will facilitate the discussion, but welcome students and non-traditional IT professionals to share their own insights and experiences related to career development.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: A diverse range of people/skills brings about the most successful (and lucrative) solutions to organizations. Non-traditional disciplines are just as important in the field of technology. Bring diverse range of skills and ideas to the table. Not a one-size-fits-all field anymore.

Moving away from feeling like any imposter. We all have in one way been in your shoes believing that we are not the right fit for the job. Consider that your background adds to the team and project you are working on that is outside of the stereotypical box. Know that there is a supportive community of peers available and you are apart of that community. You also have the power to kick-start your own support community in your organization!

"Get over it! Strategies for overcoming adversity in the workplace" | Room D
Jeff Haas Application Support Manager, Information Technology Services
University of Nebraska
Amy Zachek DLC Exam Commons Manager, Information Technology Services
University of Nebraska

Everyone deals with adversity at least some of the time: your project is thrown off schedule; you’re passed over for that promotion; your co-worker shoots down your great idea. Adversity that happens outside the workplace can also affect how you look at your job. When faced with an obstacle, how can you get over it and move forward? In this presentation, the speakers will discuss strategies for identifying types of adversity, overcoming obstacles, and moving on from difficult situations.

This is a universal topic because adversity is a universal experience. Although each person may deal with different obstacles, everyone—whether new to the workforce or a veteran manager—can benefit from learning how to overcome a difficult situation.

Program documents
Get Over It.pdf

"Code for Her: Developing Programming Skills in an Empowering Environment" | Room B1/B2
Carmen Cole Information Sciences & Business Librarian
Penn State University, University Park

Currently, there are few opportunities for Penn State students to learn foundational computer programming skills in a non-credit bearing, cost-free learning environment purposefully targeting underrepresented populations in STEM fields. In spring 2018, the Penn State University Libraries piloted Code for Her, a computer programming workshop series targeted to women and gender-diverse students.

Through interactive instruction and self-study materials, Code for Her workshop participants gain the confidence to pursue future self-education with a foundational knowledge of three basic programming languages in a supportive, empowering environment. This unique opportunity provides an additional outlet for developing programming skills beyond the curricular structures of a single academic department.

Session attendees will learn about the inspiration for and creation of the workshop series, successes and lessons learned from the pilot semester, and plans for future implementations. Prompted brainstorming opportunities will provide attendees with a springboard to launch similar initiatives at their own institutions.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The traditionally male-dominated computer/information science classroom setting may not be an ideal learning environment for some women and gender-diverse students. Code for Her is an initiative built upon the desire to create a more equitable and enriching educational opportunity. The library is an optimal partner for piloting similar initiatives. Attendees will learn about how the speaker leveraged collaborative partnerships across the university to develop and implement the pilot of Code for Her.

Program documents

"Building Sisterhood in the Work Environment to Advance your Career" | NIC Auditorium
Elizabeth Flansburg-Cruz The Ohio State University
Tiffany Dyer The Ohio State University
Lisa Turner The Ohio State University

More than ever, professional women at every stage of their careers, can benefit from a mentoring program to link them to organizational resources, opportunities and help expand their network. The presenters are participating in a mentorship program in a technology department at The Ohio State University.

This program pairs three mentees, drawn from different areas across the organization at various stages in their careers, with a senior leadership mentor. The cohort meets using an agenda and resources, exploring topics to expand their viewpoints, drawing on their own experiences and diverse backgrounds. The presenters will share how they have benefited from having a mentor, such as learning to navigate the organizational environment and establishing networking relationships.

The presenters will engage the participants in activities designed to build their skills. Starting off by getting a read of the room using Kahoot!, presenters will pose mentoring and career advancement questions and ask participants to take a few minutes to introduce themselves to people around them. The presenters will share a mentoring map, used to indicate areas for growth, and ask participants to identify where they may have opportunities. They will discuss how to grow in these areas by building a mentorship program.

After taking part in this workshop, participants will be able to maximize the benefits of a mentorship program by:

  • Developing a mentoring map to expand their network.
  • Gaining advocates and sponsors to guide their careers.
  • Identifying and participating in career enhancement opportunities.
  • Building a successful mentorship program in your organization using a holistic approach.
Program documents
Conference Presentation 0092418.pptx


Lunch sponsored by Instructure | NIC Banquet Hall


Keynote Session Sponsored by Conagra

Women's Leadership Journeys Told Through Internet Memes | NIC Auditorium
Melissa Woo, Ph.D Senior Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer


Concurrent Session 3

"Women In Security (not insecurity)" | Room A1/A2
Cheryl O'Dell Incident Response & Security Awareness Manager
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Renee Peters Director of Technology Risk & Service Management
Northeast Community College
Andrea Childress Executive Director, Cybersecurity Governance, Risk and Compliance
University of Nebraska
Leilani Lauger Chief Information Security Officer
University of Chicago

In a computing workforce study from 2017, 26% of the computing workforce were women; but being a woman in Cybersecurity is even more rare. From the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, a white paper from Frost & Sullivan, women represent only 14% of the Cybersecurity Workforce in North America. What is even more disappointing is that percentage has not changed in four years. Come hear from three women who decided upon a career in Cybersecurity – how they got where they are, how important it is to be a women in security and bringing diversity to the IT team as a whole, as well as some struggles they have faced and great opportunities they experienced. You might even decide to move into a Cybersecurity career!

Our hope is to share our career journeys, and discuss what is needed (and not needed) to be in cybersecurity. A security team member is sometimes portrayed as someone who is a hardcore hacker, someone who drinks orange soda and eats BBQ chips, and usually, male. There is so much more to being in cybersecurity and we want to share that with the audience. We are hoping to have a moderator identified who will help guide the conversation, without the need of a presentation - more of security team members having a conversation. And who knows - maybe we'll even get more women and men interested in cybersecurity!

"Why so few women leaders? Understanding how intersectionality impacts unconscious gender bias" | Room A3
Amy Diehl, Ph.D. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Although outright discrimination has been diminishing due to laws and organizational attention to the need to eliminate discriminatory workplace practices, subtle discrimination and unconscious bias continues to impact women in the workplace. While white women make up only 20% of higher education chief information officer positions, minority women are even more underrepresented, making up merely 2% of such positions (Brown, 2017). These numbers are similar to the low representation of women and minority women in C-suite positions in corporate America (McKinsey & Company, 2017). Diversity enhances organizational effectiveness, yet women face many invisible barriers as they strive to advance and succeed in the workplace (Diehl & Dzubinski, 2016). Intersectionality refers to the concept that identity factors such as race, class, gender, age, and sexuality combine to create overlapping layers of discrimination. To better understand the impact of intersectional factors on unconscious gender bias, open-ended survey research was conducted with a sample of women leaders in higher education, faith-based organizations, healthcare and law. Join this session to find out how intersectionality impacted the women’s leadership. Time will be given for participants to discuss ways to support all women and help eliminate this bias.

Learning to recognize unconscious gender bias is of utmost importance if we wish to eliminate it. Attendees will learn to recognize intersectional barriers which contribute to unconscious gender bias. Attendees will discuss ways to support all women and help to eliminate this bias.

"Leading Strategy and Change" | Room D
Jaci Lindburg, PhD Director, Digital Learning
University of Nebraska Omaha
Ben Wigert, PhD Lead Researcher, Workplace Management

Institutions of higher education are typically slow to change and lack agile processes and implementation timelines. Yet the need is greater than ever in higher education to spearhead meaningful change and to move quickly when it comes to removing barriers and creating access for our students and campus communities. In this presentation, attendees will learn more about the strategic planning process utilized by ITS over the past twelve months through the OneIT initiative, in addition to learning more about national trends and recommendations for leading strategic change as researched and noted by the Gallup Organization. The presentation will include the identification of common strategic planning pitfalls and offer suggestions to individuals, regardless of their level or role in the organization, of strategies to effectively lead change initiatives and influence organizational strategy. Finally, this presentation will discuss strategies for shaping a “what’s next” culture throughout an organization to help move from a place of continual reactivity to proactive problem solving.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments:

As a result of attending this presentation, attendees will:

  • understand common pitfalls of strategic planning;
  • learn strategies for building a proactive organizational culture;
  • apply concepts to their own organizations or units, regardless of topic;
  • brainstorm three small changes they can infuse into their daily work routine that will assist in becoming more strategic;
  • identify appropriate opportunities for change in their own organization.
"Supporting Diversity and Inclusiveness Through Successful Change Management" | Room B1/B2
Melinda Hintze Instructure

Participants will explore ways to re-frame change initiatives to be a positive, inclusive experience and apply a success model to an initiative they are currently leading.

We will look at three areas of change management:

  • Re-framing how we look at change: By looking at what makes some changesmore appealing than others we can begin to tap into the possibilities of re-framing change initiatives to make them positive and inclusive.
  • Recognizing the value of change: We will discuss how the core vision of an initiative and its key messaging can be used to cultivate diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Planning for change: Participants will take one of their initiatives and through a hands-on exercise, apply a simple, straightforward framework consisting of a Communication Plan, a Training Plan and a User Engagement Plan.
  • By shifting how we view change and learning to apply simple, actionable plans to an initiative, participants will come away from this session inspired by the future they are creating and empowered with the tools to see it through.

    Those who are leading any sort of initiative where people are affected, will find that the interactive discussions, applicable framework and hands-on activities provide valuable and actionable insights. By taking a current initiative and developing Communication, Training, and User Engagement Plans, participants will be able to share these plans with their project teams and be armed with the tools needed to help it be successfully implemented.

    Program documents
    Women in IT 2018_ Supporting Diversity and Inclusiveness Through Successful Change Management.pdf

Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts: Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World | NIC Auditorium
Linda M. Cunningham UNMC Human Resources- Employee Relations

Staying silent in the face of demeaning comments, stereotypes or bias allows these attitudes and behaviors to thrive and undermines the ability to create an inclusive workplace where all employees are welcomed, treated with respect and able to do their best work. Yet, most employees and leaders who want to speak up don’t know how. So, we say nothing.

Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts provides a unique and powerful way for viewers to experience the impact of stereotypical comments, explore why people don't speak up against stereotypes and other biased behaviors and learn six techniques for speaking up without blame or guilt.


Refreshment Break sponsored by SAP and E & I in Banquet Hall


Concurrent Session 4

"Networking for Introverts, by Introverts" | Room A1/A2
Kelly Roark Northwestern University
Shannon Leftwich Northwestern University

A couple of introverts devised a networking session to help women expand their professional networks at Northwestern University. Becoming a more confident networker can help you be more effective at your job, and lead to projects and career opportunities. We’ll explain how and why we launched these sessions, the importance of providing spaces for women to network, particularly in the IT field, and the positive impact honing your networking skills can have. We will also give some tips on effective networking techniques, specifically designed for those of us who find a room full of strangers intimidating. Attendees will have the opportunity to practicing networking in quick, painless bursts. (Extroverts are also welcome and encouraged to attend.)

Becoming more comfortable with networking can lead to increased career and mentorship opportunities. Conferences can be stressful for those of us who don’t relish talking to new people all day. Building in a structured time for networking will help attendees overcome some fears.

"IT Workforce at Iowa: Exploring Data from the OneIT Skills Survey" | Room A3
Andrea Mascher University of Iowa
Victoria Maloy University of Iowa

At The University of Iowa, an IT Skills Inventory Survey was completed by 471 technical staff members. The Survey ran from December 4th to the 18th in 2017 with the goal to provide insights on how to best align the skills of the organization with strategic and operational initiatives.

In this presentation we will explore trends that can facilitate data-driven decisions. Patterns found within the data highlight institutional risks, opportunities within emerging technologies, and untapped talent within existing personnel. We will discuss how these data have influenced IT workforce development initiatives at The University of Iowa.

Program documents
Iowa OneIT Skills Survey _ UNL 2018-10-02.pdf

"Compassionate IT support for DNA Researchers" | Room D
Janna Nugent Northwestern University

Researchers who study DNA face real challenges when their research outgrowstheir desktop. In addition to understanding biology, they have to learn programming and command-line for high performance computing, which is a significant time commitment for a group that can spend more than 50% of their time writing grants.

Research Computing is an area of IT that supports DNA researchers whose computational needs have outgrown their desktops. Come learn more about this exciting area of computational research and how compassionate IT support can facilitate this exciting field.

"The Status of Women in STEM in Higher Education: A Literature Review 2007-2017" | Room B1/B2
Heidi Blackburn University of Nebraska Omaha

Use Google to search “Women in STEM in higher education” and see what comes up. What if you were an administrator trying to write a grant to recruit female students in IT? Or an instructor trying to advise a student club for women in computer science? In recent years, the spotlight on STEM education has given rise to hundreds of studies ranging from the recruitment and retention of women students to the workplace climate of women faculty and staff. This information was not easily available in one location for use in reports, press releases, curriculum, or grants. Through a Carnegie-Whitney grant, we created an online Women in STEM Research Guide of over 700 articles, books, and theses. Bibliographic themes cover recruitment, retention, barriers, stereotypes, inclusion and biases, campus culture, classroom experiences, and faculty workplace issues. We will engage participants by having them briefly conduct their own research on this topic, explore the Research Guide, and then consider what contacts and groups they might share the information within their own organizations. We will also highlight the national grant process, the scope of the literature review, and the student research assistant will share his experiences working on the project.

By understanding the intersectionality of issues surrounding the status of women in STEM in higher education, participants can help their organizations prepare to engage fully in local, regional, and national recruitment and retention efforts. The audience members will leave with an introduction to and hands-on experience with a powerful resource they could use for literature reviews in campus strategic planning, department outreach, recruitment, or grant writing.

Program documents
Blackburn Women Advance IT 2018.pdf

"Using Synthetic Biology to Improve Early Detection of the Emerald Ash Borer" | NIC Auditorium
Tyler Barker iGEM Student Group
Rachel Van Cott iGEM Student Group
Shreeva Vaitla iGEM Student Group
Gabe Astorino iGEM Student Group
Drew Kortus iGEM Student Group
Nic Kite iGEM Student Group

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition to solve real world problems. The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive species that first appeared in the United States in 2002. Adult EAB lay eggs on the bark of ash trees, and when the larvae hatch, they bore into the trees. Any infested ash tree that is left untreated will die.

EAB populations are currently monitored by traps baited with green leaf volatiles from ash trees. In the past, traps have also been baited with essential oils from the Manuka and Phoebe trees, but they are no longer used due to inconsistent supplies. 7-epi-sesquithujene and eremophilene are considered the most attractive components in these oils. Neither of these compounds is commercially available, which limits the application and research of their use in traps.

The goal of this iGEM project is to biosynthesize 7-epi-sesquithujene in an efficient and reliable manner. 7-epi-sesquithujene is a sesquiterpene, which is a type of compound known for being difficult to extract and isolate from plants. Research shows that 7-epi-sesquithujene can successfully be synthesized by Escherichia coli through the enzyme 7-epi-sesquithujene synthase (TPS4-B73). From there, the 7-epi-sesquithujene can be purified to use in EAB traps.

Program documents
UNL iGEM 2018 presentation.pdf

Wednesday, October 3


Registration Open and Continental Breakfast sponsored by Microsoft in Banquet Hall


Welcome - NIC Auditorium

Heath Tuttle


Opening Remarks | NIC Auditorium

Mary Niemiec


Keynote Presentation sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Access & Inclusion & ITS AV Design | NIC Auditorium

Stress Proof Your Brain
Jenny Evans Founder and CEO of PowerHouse Performance


Refreshment Break sponsored by SAP in Banquet Hall


Workshop | NIC Banquet Hall

Stress-Proof your Brain Workshop
Jenny Evans


Lunch sponsored by Connection | NIC Banquet Hall