Diverse Professionals in Tech Networking Mixer | Panelist Spotlight | October 18

We are pleased to spotlight our three panelists for Friday’s Diverse Professionals In Tech Networking Mixer

Friday October 18  | 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Douglass Auditorum at 36 King St
Register here

About The Event

The mission of Diverse Professionals in Tech is to bring together diverse professionals with disabilities and other marginalized identities committed to seeing diversity among Rochester’s tech and design industry.
About Yennifer Hernandez | Panelist

Yennifer Hernandez is a graduate of the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering (’12) and a master’s in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (‘16). Professionally she is the Lead Business Analyst for University IT at the @urochester. For the past 3 years, Yennifer has been working with various members of the university community to document their business needs and identify the appropriate IT solutions to satisfy those needs.

 Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important?

YH: Diversity in tech inspires great creativity. The more diverse perspectives we bring to the table, the more effective we can be in creating solutions that reach broader audiences. I also feel that there is increased productivity and morale in places where people feel accepted and understood which can then lend to an environment where we feel comfortable pursuing innovative ideas.   

What are the actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond?

YH: I seek out opportunities that allow me to network with diverse groups of students who are interested in STEM fields. I have taught STEM courses to middle school students in an inner-city school to try to increase student engagement in science, math, and technology. I am currently one of 2 representatives for our university-wide staff council, on behalf of the IT department, where I can ensure concerns of diverse voices across my department are heard and understood. I participate and assist in the facilitation of our IT High school internship program where work with schools from the Rochester area to offer internships to HS student interested in Tech. I facilitate our college internship program on behalf of our department. Every year we host a diverse group of college students for summer opportunities. I advocate for my colleagues in the workplace when I feel there is unfair judgment.

About Meisuleen Kased | Panelist

Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important?

MK: Diversity and equity in tech is important because it helps companies get the best talent and allows for diverse input in the products they build to cater to all types of customers. Problems get resolved more quickly and you get better ideas with a broader perspective. Employee retention is another important reason since it allows people from diverse backgrounds to experience a great work culture. All in all, a more diverse work culture will lead to a better product.
What are actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond? 
MK: I’ve been involved with Career Karma as a mentor to software engineering students who come form underrepresented backgrounds and I’ve attended developer meetups and conferences to become more educated on the issues of diversity in tech. 
About Emily Yang | Panelist
Emily is a User Experience Researcher at Paychex. She started out as a Front-End/UI developer before heading into research. She has a bachelors degree in Information Technology from RIT and a masters degree in Human-Technology Interaction from Eindhoven University of Technology. Previously, she worked at Kodak, ZoomSystems and Samsung. She had also worked with startups in NYC and Berlin.
Why is diversity and equity in the tech industry important? 
EY: Diversity and equity is important because everyone matters. Technology should not be built for the few, but it often is when the people behind are not diverse and not paying attention. 
What are actions you are taking to improve diversity and equity in your field and beyond?
EY: I wish I could be doing more but for now I help by pressing on issues that vulnerable populations tend to have. At my job, I study our clients (our main users) and their employees, to make sure that what we build will work for everyone. In addition, every others Saturday, I volunteer at the Lincoln library a digital literacy volunteer. I help people navigate through bureaucratic job application systems and all sorts of issues related to digital literacy.

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