IST student group holds panel on female empowerment in technology careers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Women in Information Sciences and Technology (WIST), a student organization promoting the empowerment of women within the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), held a panel event on March 20 to embolden current students on how to succeed in a STEM career.

WIST, founded in 2000 shortly after the College of IST was established, promotes a sense of unity among female students in the major and provides networking opportunities, career resources, community and academic presentations, and leadership training.

Megan Tucker, a junior majoring in IST and the events coordinator for WIST, opened the event by saying, “The reason we come together and do this is to empower women to lean into their ambitions.”

The panelists, ranging from seasoned professionals to recent graduates, fielded questions from the moderators and the audience on navigating careers in the technology sector. When asked what advice they would give to an entry-level employee, 2016 security risk and analysis graduate and current Vanguard employee Katie Ali offered, “They always say that the biggest mistake in any meeting is not talking.”

They advised the audience on a range of topics, including family leave, handling unintentional sexism, and the need for more women in STEM leadership positions. The need was illustrated by the fact that women make up 50.8 percent of the population, but only occupy 1.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. Reshmi Sanyal, the secretary of WIST, said, “That’s why we want to emphasize the importance of having discussions like this.”

The panel and networking reception was sponsored by Air Products, Accenture, Vanguard, Exelon, AIG, Erie Insurance, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Last Updated March 29, 2017