Women in Technology (WIT) is a registered student organization on campus that has been actively working to adapt and thrive in the fall semester’s virtual environment.
Like many other organizations on campus, WIT has transferred to holding Zoom meetings and virtual events for members, with a goal to make everything as engaging, fun, and welcoming as possible.
“Zoom fatigue for students has been something that myself as a student, and WIT as an organization have had to combat this past semester. This challenging environment has enabled us to evaluate the type of programming and activities the WIT executive board offers to our members by prioritizing ideas that will actually benefit our members long-term,” said WIT President Casey Johnson, a cybersecurity major.
The organization holds monthly game nights to help members de-stress and get to know each other better. Regular weekly meetings include breakout sessions on Zoom, with an effort to encourage members to share thoughts and ideas in smaller environments where they feel more comfortable speaking.
WIT has also worked to host virtual collaborative events for its members, such as a recent three-day series called “Growth through Gaming,” which included a partnership with the Redbird Gaming RSO and a panel of women who spoke about their experiences in technology and gaming.
The organization has also been conscious of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the job market, and recently created a LinkedIn group for members to network with each other, evaluate their online presence, and share beneficial internship or job opportunities.
The organization is currently working with the Business Information Systems (BIS) Club to plan a networking event with alumni from BIS and WIT next spring.
“Our main goal in WIT is to provide our members with the resources they need to succeed, especially in these uncertain times,” said Jacquelyn Simanis, WIT public relations officer and computer science major.
Johnson says that the organization’s primary mission has always been to support women in technology, while welcoming diversity at the same time.
“Everyone always thinks that you have to identify as a woman or IT major, or that you have to be something you aren’t to be a part of WIT. This is not true. All you have to do is support women being a part of technology. Our organization is truly made greater by diversity, and our conversations are made more meaningful from having multiple perspectives,” said Johnson.
New member and arts technology major Sydney Hill is happy she joined the organization.
“During the meetings each week we explore new and relative topics in society, education, and technology. I learn a lot from the discussions and have made many valuable connections through the fun activities that are planned for us,” said Hill.
Returning member and cybersecurity major Jackson Staley says the most rewarding part of joining WIT was being presented with the opportunity to gain new perspectives.
“Being a member of WIT has helped me understand things from my peers’ point of view and has allowed me to share my point of view. It is very rewarding to improve my professional skills and help enable my peers improve theirs,” said Staley.
Other returning members encourage interested students to join the organization without hesitation, regardless of their major or gender.
“I would encourage everyone who’s interested to join WIT. You will be welcomed in with open arms and feel right at home. Don’t be afraid if you’re not a woman or majoring in technology. You will be able to grow yourself professionally and expand your network while having fun. My only regret with joining is that I waited until my sophomore year to do it,” said Katelyn Hartman, a returning member and computer science major.
WIT is still hosting meetings virtually from 7-8 p.m. Tuesdays in addition to virtual events and other meetings.