Why Tech? Forum 2018
The Why Study Tech? Forum at NOVA's Annandale Campus focuses on providing young women with the benefits of pursuing a career in technology. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear inspirational and empowering talks and take part in informative panel sessions presented by successful women in the IT and computer science industry. Participants will engage in hands-on workshops conducted by NOVA professors. Interested attendees can also register separately for a field trip to take place on March 29, 2018.
Young women in middle school and high school. Parents are welcome!
Forum Focus Areas
Inform: Inform young women of the benefits of a tech career.
Inspire: Break stereotypes and motivate a desire to study tech in college.
Empower: Empower young women to boldly choose tech and understand the benefits of diversity in tech.
Engage: Engage young women through interactive panel sessions and hands-on workshops.
Tech Exhibitors: Participants can connect with growing organizations.
Field Trip: A tour and first-hand look at a data center.
|March 27, 2018|
|12:30 - 1:00 PM: Sign-In|
|1:00 - 1:15 PM: Opening Remarks/Welcome|
|1:15 - 1:30 PM: Speaker - Sasha Ariel Alston|
|1:40 - 2:40 PM: 'Her Story' Panel|
|2:50 - 3:20 PM: Speaker - Khuloud Odeh|
|3:30 - 4:30 PM: 'Myth Busting' Panel|
|4:30 - 5:00 PM: Exhibits|
|5:00 - 6:30 PM: Speaker/Interactive - Julie Kantor|
|March 28, 2018|
|1:00 - 1:05 PM: Welcome/Announcements|
|1:05 - 1:35 PM: Speaker - Janice Omadeke|
|1:40 - 2:40 PM: 'Careers in Tech' Panel|
|2:50 - 3:20 PM: Speaker - Emily Ryan|
|3:30 - 4:00 PM: Exhibits|
|4:00 - 5:15 PM: Workshop Breakouts
|5:20 - 6:20 PM: 'NOVA Students' Panel|
|6:20 - 6:30 PM: Closing Remarks|
- Workshop Presenters
Sasha Alston - Teen Author
Sasha Ariel Alston, known as the STEM Queen, is the author of the children’s book "Sasha Savvy Loves to Code". From Washington, D.C., Sasha is a college student majoring in Information Systems at Pace University, Lubin School of Business in New York. With eight successful internships at business and information technology enterprises such as Infor, Microsoft, and Everfi, she is a sought-after speaker encouraging youth, especially girls of color, to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM. She has appeared on Good Morning America, been featured in Huffington Post & Black Enterprise, and inspired girls to dream big in Disney, Google, Snapchat, and Yahoo initiatives.
Khuloud Odeh - CIO at the Urban Institute
Khuloud Odeh is vice president for information technology (IT) and chief information officer (CIO) at the Urban Institute, where she leads the strategic planning and implementation of research, operations, and communications technology. Odeh is not your typical technologist: she brings a unique blend of education, IT organization leadership, change management experience, and understanding of global and local sustainability challenges. Over the course of her career, she has helped various organizations develop and implement strategic IT roadmaps that align with and support business process improvements, innovation, and organizational growth.
Before joining Urban, Odeh was IT director for the Grameen Foundation, a global poverty-fighting organization. She served previously as the CIO of CHF International (now Global Communities) and as senior IT advisor to Jhpeigo’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program.
Odeh has a BS in computer science from the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan; an MS in computer science from American University; and a PhD in information technology from George Mason University, where her research focused on the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of an IT organization’s practices. She also has a master’s degree in strategic leadership toward sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, where her research focused on the enabling role of IT and broadband connectivity in sustainable urban development.
Julie Kantor - Founder & CEO Twomentor, LLC
Julie Kantor is an ‘all-in’ roll-up your sleeves leader & social impact entrepreneur committed to building mentoring cultures to drive employee engagement and elevating women in the STEM workforce. Whether in a board room with executives or working with collaborative teams, Julie instills excitement, inspires commitment, and demonstrates an unwavering drive to help others succeed. Two adages Julie often shares with clients are “The people who mentor at your company are the people who drive retention at your company” and “Mentor your Millennials or they will often leave and find a company that will.” In 2017 Julie stepped up as Co-Chair for Leadership Greater Washington Signature program and has chaired multiple conferences focused on women in the workforce, STEM and entrepreneurship.
Julie’s 5th start-up Twomentor, LLC, focuses on elevating women in STEM, and retaining a skilled diverse workforce, builds on Julie’s 24 years in workforce development and building movements including Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (former Executive Director 1992- 2012 of DC Region, Boston, National VP) and Million Women Mentors (team lead and Chief Partnership Officer). As a sought-after global speaker and connector, Julie is well networked to the national community of top business, academic, nonprofit, & government leaders.
Emily Ryan - Information Architect, Deloitte Digital
Emily Ryan is an Information Architect and UX advocate, as well as the UX competency lead for Deloitte Digital. She received her BFA in Graphic Design and her MA in Computer Security with a specialty in investigations, aka “asking the right questions”. Having been a web /mobile developer and visual designer prior to going into UX at both small and large companies, her diverse background and heavy focus on user research means she’s part of many different projects, particularly those in the healthcare, education and cyber-security fields. She’s been on teams that have won numerous awards for their work including several Webby’s, IMAs and the Educause App of the Year. Because she has a background in both engineering and design, she can more easily solve complex issues and create experiences that people love.
Why YOU are destined to be in STEM?
There are so many different paths you can take – from astronaut to scientist, white hat hacker to professor. So how can you choose just one path? In this talk I’ll share some inspirational and motivational stories from a variety of women in STEM careers from agencies like NASA, NSA, CIA and more! The science and tech communities need you ladies now more than ever and I’ll talk about the ways you can think about breaking into your dream career.
Janice Omadeke - CEO, The Mentor Method
Janice Omadeke is the CEO and Founder of The Mentor Method, a DC-based company creating inclusive workplace cultures by mentoring diverse talent. Her company has been featured in The Washington Business Journal, had a great interview in Entrepreneur Magazine's new video series, was a 2016 Tech.Co Startup of the Year nominee, and a 2017 Startup Grind Global Exhibition selection. Janice served as a DC Ambassador at SXSW, was selected to attend The White House Summit on Building the Tech Workforce of Tomorrow, and a top 10 finalist in Rent the Runway's Project Entrepreneur.
Jazmine Zurita - Application Innovation Consultant, IBM
Jazmine Zurita is a Technical Consultant at IBM, with a focus on security and application development. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science in May 2017. Jazmine prefers tabs over spaces and vim over emacs. When she's not playing around with her terminal, Jazmine enjoys watching an episode of Black Mirror and then contemplating whether she chose the right career.
Mary Carome - Reinventing Geospatial®, Inc.
Mary Carome graduated from Virginia Tech in 2017 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Spanish. During her time as a student, she was a member of the Society of Women Engineers and spent two years organizing STEM events for local Girl Scouts as the Outreach Chair. She also participated in the service club Circle K and the female engineering community Hypatia. Currently, she works as a Software Engineer for Reinventing Geospatial Inc.
Alisson Spittel - General Assembly
When Ali's not working, you can find her watching New England sports, competing on CodeWars, taking runs around Capitol HIll, rock climbing, or participating in DC coding community events.
Ali's current personal project is a blog called "On Learning New Things" where she learns one new coding skill a week, builds an app with it, and then writes an article on it.
Ali graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in government in 2016 after completing research on how to teach computer science in 7-12th grade classrooms and on the differences in representation in Congress across party and gender lines.
Thanisha is a charismatic leader, proven strategist, skilled communicator, and an accomplished professional. She leads a team of Agilists as Director of Agile Practices at Cars.com, a pioneer in automotive classifieds and one of the largest digital automotive platforms connecting consumers with local dealers across the country. Cars.com is crafting a leading-edge Lean Agile Product development culture with the support of Thanisha’s team.
Thanisha started her career as a Technology Portfolio Manager at Discover Financial Services. Her experience prior to joining Cars.com also includes consulting as an Agile Transformation Coach at CNA Insurance, as well as a Release Train Engineer and Scrum Master at Capital One Financial. She attended Western Illinois University, where she earned a master’s degree in computer science and a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Her journey of growth in Leadership and Agile Culture helps her bring high-value outcomes to her organization and coworkers.
Amber Kearney - Senior Project Manager
Amber is a Senior Product Manager at Deloitte Digital – a creative digital consultancy within Deloitte’s Technology practice- where her primary area of focus is delivering compelling, innovative digital products to Federal clients, as well as transforming their agencies by infusing agile methodologies & ‘design thinking’ principles into their day-to-day operations. As a product manager, Amber works with cross-functional teams comprised of User Experience designers, Visual Designers, and Engineers to re-imagine her client’s future with a digital lens. With her team, she aids in the discovery, design, and development phases of the product lifecycle to bring innovation to life. In addition, to her Product Management experience, Amber has gained an expertise in Customer and User Experience design. She has developed her brand in strategizing to apply Human-Centered Design practices in businesses and government agencies to enhance how customers interact with them.
Since starting at Deloitte in 2013, Amber has supported a variety of Federal clients including the Internal Revenue Service, US Postal Service, a Federal Loan Servicing client, and her current client, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Amber is a graduate of Hampton University’s 5-year MBA Program (concentration in marketing and advertising) from which she graduated with high honors in 2013.
Meriem Yaghmmour - CSM, CSPO, Ariel Partners
Meriem Yaghmmour is a Sr. IT Business Analyst with Ariel Partners supporting CODIS FBI project. Previously, she worked in several private and contracted government projects including Semi-conductors, HRSA, and security and investigation project with Micron Technology, Leidos, and Booz Allen Hamilton, respectively.
Meriem has a BS in Information Technology and is currently pursuing a Masters in Project Management with George Washington University. In addition, she is a certified scrum master (CSM) and scrum project owner (CSPO). Meriem is member of the Women in Technology of the Washington DC Metro Area, member and volunteer at Project Management Institute, and an active member of Scrum Alliance.
Cecilia Hahn - Founder of Coder Kids
Cecilia Hahn is a software engineer and founder of Coder Kids. Coder Kids offers coding classes to children K-8 at the Coder Kids studio and in local schools in Maryland and Virginia as well offers as a five-star camp program during spring, winter and summer breaks. Cecilia co-founded Coder Kids shortly after completing her Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Psychology from the George Washington University. She has also worked as a software engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton and Dell Federal Services and as a technology consultant at Appian Corp and Deloitte. She is passionate about inspiring girls and boys to love coding at an early age so they may pursue or integrate coding in their professional careers as they grow older
Jackie Kazil - Developer
Jackie Kazil wanted to be photographer, artist, or physicist in high school, but her education and career brought her to the tech sector instead. She has worked for The White House as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, co-founded a startup in government, and worked as a developer at The Washington Post and at The Library of Congress. In addition to this, she gives back to the tech community. Python Software Foundation (PSF, https://www.python.org/psf/), an international leader in PyLadies (http://www.pyladies.com/), which has grown to over 110 groups around the world, a Board member of Byte Back (https://byteback.org/), an organization focused on digital literacy in Washington, DC, and a leader/founder in Women Data Scientists DC (https://www.meetup.com/WomenDataScientistsDC/).
Nicole Krug - Social Light
Nicole Krug founded Social Light in 2009 to help make the Internet a friendlier place by providing the tools and training small business owners need for success online. Through Social Light Nicole helps clients hone their digital marketing strategies to bring more exposure to their brand while boosting the bottom line.
Prior to Social Light, Nicole spent 10 years in enterprise marketing and business development for brands as diverse as The North Face and BB&T Bank. From developing marketing programs and e-commerce channels to improving organizational performance and building profitable business relationships, Nicole understands revenue goals and how to meet them.
When she’s not hard at work on client strategy, you’ll find Nicole cooking up a storm or planning her next trip. She is a strong supporter of literacy, volunteers with the Cooking Matters™ program, and has done pro bono social media campaigns for K-9 LifeSavers.
Jennifer Herson - President of Data Canopy
Jennifer Herson has more than a decade of experience in high tech marketing and operations. Jennifer is creative and versatile, having contributed directly to the success of a variety of organizations, including small startups, mid-sized firms, and multi-national enterprises. A communication specialist, with an eye for design, Jennifer has developed highly effective marketing content and campaigns for a variety of channels in the B2B high tech space. She approaches every challenge with a can-do collaborative spirit to deliver superior quality and results.
Jennifer is a member of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Alumni Association Board of Directors. She is also an avid O's fan and can often be found cheering them on with her husband and son.
Linda Jackson - President/CEO, IAS
Linda Folsom Jackson, President/CEO, InfoAge Solutions, Inc. (IAS), has over 27 years of Information Technology experience and certifications successfully building over 1,800 systems, managing multiple $100M efforts and thousands of staff. Prior to starting IAS in 2001, Linda was the Deputy Director of the Executive Office of the President EOP (White House POTUS) and has supported the Department of Homeland Security, Oracle Corporation, Deloitte & Touche, State of Maryland, and many other public and private organizations. As a sampling, Linda is honored to serve as the Vice Chair of Total Health Care, Top 100 MBE Award MD/DC/VA, Daily Record Top 100 Women, Trailblazing Women Award, GBC Leadership Class 2011, Technology Development Corporation TEDCO Site Reviewer/Mentor, Howard Tech Council HTC Women in Technology, and Tuerk House Board of Trustees.
Sarah Gonzalez - Founder of Tungsten Prep.
Sarah is the founder and chief tutor at Tungsten Prep, a Washington DC-based company that aims to increase diversity within STEM fields by providing high school students with strong women role models. She spent 14 years serving overseas as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, managing multi-million-dollar education programs that expanded educational services to underserved communities in Afghanistan, Israel and Liberia. She served on the Board of Directors of the US-Israel Fulbright Program, and worked with American universities to establish scholarship programs for Afghan women. Sarah attended Harvard University on a scholarship and encourages her students to dream big and then do the hard work to get there. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two young children.
Irine Shalamberidze - Student of NOVA
Irine Shalamberidze is an international student from the Republic of Georgia. Irine has her associates degree in Fine Arts and is currently working on her associates degree in Information Technology. Irine plans to earn her bachelor degree in Graphic Design which will ultimately lead to a career of creating apps and websites.
Alisha Saiyed - Student at NOVA
As a Computer Science Student and Educator, Alisha is an avid advocate for Computer Science Education. Beyond the classroom, Alisha applies her digital knowledge to boost engagement and awareness for organizations as a Social Media Consultant and Web Developer.
Anna Pastore - Student of NOVA
Anna Pastore is a cybersecurity major. Prior to going back to school, she handled the IT for a family operated real estate business for over 15 years. Currently, she juggles school, her son and family and, her responsibilities as President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is also a member of the National Cyber League, ISSA-NOVA, and Phi Theta Kappa. She also participates in Hack this site and Hack this box to keep learning new skills and apply what she has learned in class.
Beverley Drake - Senior Aviation Accident Investigator/Analyst
Beverley Drake has an accomplished career in aviation as a Senior Aviation Accident Investigator/Analyst, safety advocate, industry safety spokesperson, and pilot. This distinguished career began in her native country Guyana and spans over four decades. She departed Guyana in 1976 to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) where she successfully completed her commercial pilot’s license and instrument rating. She returned to Guyana in 1977 and enlisted in the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) and was subsequently transferred to the then Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC). During her tenure in the GDF, she skillfully flew a Britten Norman Islander over the dense jungles of Guyana and at GAC flew the Twin Otter and Hawker Siddley 748 both locally and the Caribbean routes to Trinidad, Barbados and Dominica. She also holds the distinction of being Guyana’s first female commercial pilot, flying for Guyana Airways in 1978.
Ms. Drake immigrated to the USA and joined the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which she has served for 27 years. She is the first and only black woman to serve as a Senior Aviation Accident Investigator/Analyst for the NTSB. At the NTSB, Ms. Drake has investigated over 300 small, large-scale and high-profile accidents and has dedicated her career to working to ensure that transportation safety is a policy priority globally. Her engaging and humorous speaking style motivates audiences to act, face challenges, and think differently. In October 2017, she represented the NTSB at the Aviation Conference, a collaborative effort between the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Community in Guyana where she shared various best practices to enhance safety in the sector.
Ms. Drake was honored by the Government of Guyana on World Post Day, Oct. 9, 2013, for her contribution to aviation in Guyana with the unveiling of a local $20 and $80 international stamp bearing her photo. She also received the African Guyanese Achievement Award on May 23, 2016 for her commitment toward the Development of Guyana and the African Guyanese Community within the past 50 years. During her career, Ms. Drake has received several awards including the NTSB Chairman’s “Raise the Bar” award for her outstanding work as Project Manager for the first International Family Assistance Conference, and she was presented with the Guyana Defense Force Women’s Army Corps 50th Anniversary Medal for her contribution to the GDF and Guyana in the field of aviation, October 21, 2017.
Ms. Drake has a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics, and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science with specializations in Management, Safety and Operations, from ERAU. She is currently a Program Manager in the Office of Government and Industry Affairs at the NTSB and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advocate. She participates in numerous outreach activities and encourages students to pursue STEM as a career choice.
Alex Seminario - NOVA IT Professor
Professor Seminario teaches IT and security courses and is the Cyber security coordinator at the Annandale Campus. He has over 17 years of experience in IT. He is CO Pi Investigator on a NSA grant and he has worked on securing federal grants for physical security projects and has managed various projects involving building security, electronic door access, biometrics, intrusion detection and camera surveillance systems. Professor Seminario has a master’s degree in Information Systems Network Management.
Nancy Sévère - NOVA IT Professor
Professor Sévère joined the Business and Public Services Division at Northern Virginia Community College in 2012 after having previously taught at numerous colleges, universities, and private institutions in New York, Maryland, and Virginia for the past fifteen years. Professor Sévère has also taught k-12 specializing in special education courses.
Professor Sévère teaches courses in Information Technology, in addition to being an active member of the college-wide initiative aFit that encourages high school and college females to complete STEM majors.
Professor Sévère’s research focuses on Factors that Determine Student Persistence in Information Technology Programs, and the High Attrition Rate of Information Technology students. Professor Sévère is passionate about teaching and her specialty is freshman retention and the recruitment of females in STEM fields.
- M.S./D.M.IST – University of Phoenix
- B.S – York College
- A.A.S. – Borough of Manhattan Community College
Judy Miller - NOVA IT Professor
Judy has been an IT Professor at NOVA for over 15 years. Her particular areas of interest include Web Design, Java, and Excel. Judy is married and has two daughters and two dogs. She enjoys walking with her dogs, biking and kayaking.
- B.A. Philosophy, University of California at Berekley
- J.D. , University of Chicago Law School
- M.S., Software Engineering, George Mason University
Dr. Necmettin Mutlu - NOVA IT Professor
Necmi Mutlu, is a professor of information technology at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). Mr.Mutlu holds a PhD degree in Information Technology from George Mason University Fairfax VA. His teaching and research interests include topics in Information Technology, Cybersecurity, Programming and Engineering. He joined the faculty of NVCC at the rank of an Assistant Professor in 2009 and became full professor in August 2017. Before joining NVCC, Dr.Mutlu was Senior System Engineer at Alcatel / STMicroelectronics, Raleigh, NC. Dr. Multu had completed NVCC Leadership Program and have been member of NVCC Personnel Services Committee. He has been a board member of several foundations primary in Education.
Ghada Abdelmoumin - NOVA IT Professor
Ghada Abdelmoumin received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical power engineering from Alexandria University, a public research institution that is the second largest university in Egypt. She earned two Master of Science degrees, one in computer science from Western Illinois University and the other in computer science and applications from Virginia Tech.
In 2014, Abdelmoumin received the Teacher of the Year award from the Virginia Career College Association. She also has professional experience as a senior design engineer at Global Link Solutions, Inc.
She is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the VMware User Group. Her professional interests have focused on cloud computing, mobile computing, software engineering and cybersecurity.
Anwar Ahmad started teaching at NOVA during the Fall 2012 semester. He held several different jobs before NOVA such as a software engineer, patent examiner, and a few others. He holds a BA in Cognitive Science and a MS in Software Engineering.
Pam Johnson - NOVA IT Professor
Professor Johnson has over twenty years of teaching experience in Computer Engineering and Information Technology. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Electronic Engineering and a Master's degree in Computer Systems.
8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003