Women only hold 20 percent of jobs in the technology industry. However at Saint Joseph’s University, the Office of Technology is filled with many hard working and intelligent women who are constantly improving what SJU offers.
Jill Dougherty Cleary, Director of Project Management, highlights what she does in the Office of Information Technology at SJU and what it is like to be a woman in this field.
Other women in the Office of Technology speak on what it is like to have a successful career in technology.
Lauren Adams received her degree from SJU, majoring in Information Systems and currently works as the Director of Technology Support Services. She always enjoyed learning new technology. “I was a computer lab assistant and I realized how much I liked teaching people how to use technology,” she says.
Karen Pinto, the Learner Experience Designer in the Office of Information Technology, graduated from Jefferson University majoring in Graphic Design Communications. She earned her Master’s degree at SJU in Organization Development and Leadership. Her passion for design, art, and architecture drew her into this field.
Amanda Sciarra graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Mathematics and Business Administration degree and is currently the Director of Application Services. She was never sure what she wanted to do, but after college graduation, she got a job as a business analyst, and has been in technology ever since.
Each of these ladies have faced challenges as a woman in a male dominated industry. According to Lauren Adams, being a woman in the technology is difficult because, “as a working mom, it is sometimes tough to maintain a healthy work-life balance when technology is a full time service.”
Karen Pinto says, “One challenge I have faced specifically as a woman in the field of instructional technology is that it once was a male-dominated field. Over the years, there has been some residual bias in regards to the validity of my professional advice as I take a more empathetic, human-centered approach to learning. This approach is often immediately discounted when demonstrated by a woman, but in reality, it is based on research.”
Amanda Sciarra says that many times at work she is the only woman in the room. “It was intimidating in the beginning, but I bring a different perspective to the job – both functional and female.”
Briana Baier is a freshman at SJU who is studying Computer Science. “I really liked the logic of developing programs and I thought it would be an interesting thing to get into, especially because there are not a lot of women in the field.” So far, Briana has learned JAVA Script Programming. “You can really make that program do whatever you want.” Briana wants to either go into software development or data based architecture in the future.
Briana also understands the struggle of being a woman in technology. “When we got our midterm grades, I felt like I had to defend the fact that I got a higher grade than a guy when he asked what grade I got. The bias, especially in Computer Science, is there,” she says.
The women from the Office of Technology have advice for young girls who are pursuing a career in the technology industry.
Lauren Adams encourages girls to change the percentage of men outnumbering women in this field. “Continue to develop your technical skills, but also develop your communication and leadership skills, as well as emotional intelligence. Speak up frequently and with confidence. Empower and support other women in the technology field.”
Karen Pinto says, “Learn how to work with people first and foremost. Knowing how to effectively collaborate with others is a critical element in the ever-evolving technology field.”
Amanda Sciarra’s advice to young girls is to take chances in the field. “It’s okay to be the only girl in the room. If you have an opinion, own it by stating it directly. Remember that your career is a journey – learn as you go and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”