Summer Brightens Career Outlook for INI Student-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer Brightens Career Outlook for INI Student

"I learned through CMU, 'Be passionate; put your heart in the work you do, and everything else will fall into place,'" said Seetha Annamraju, an INI student in her second year of the Pittsburgh-Silicon Valley Master of Science in Information Technology-Mobility program.

Annamraju is enthusiastic about her graduate studies after spending an exhilarating summer in the Bay Area. She relocated to Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley campus from Pittsburgh after the spring semester in order to complete her bicoastal program. In May, she was invited to attend a developer conference in San Francisco, Google I/O, which became her springboard for participating in other exciting technical events.

One of those events was the AT&T Women in Technology Hackathon held at the AT&T Palo Alto Foundry. There, she and her team of two friends, Aisha Green and Sophia Ngo, created a new app they called Discover. The team was advised by mobile technology strategist Sian Morson and other mentors at the conference. They earned an honorable mention, and each team member won a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Discover is a networking tool that could be used to pair up people at conferences with similar interests. According to Annamraju, the idea came from trends in research showing that women tend to compete against each other at work rather than lend each other support. Annamraju added that an app like Discover would have been helpful to have at the Google I/O conference.

Using Discover, a conference attendee could enter a story about herself and her career interests. The app uses a keyword search to match her entry with those of other app users. If both women are attending the same conference, they can be matched quickly for a meet up.

"We thought it would be cool if we could bring that mentorship outside of the workplace, and allow women to share stories," said Annamraju. "The vision is that if your story is similar to another woman's, you would be connected at places like conferences. These women would then meet up or keep in touch to discuss their similar experiences, challenges and share advice."

When it comes to women mentoring women, Annamraju speaks from experience having tapped into the wisdom of others along her journey to graduate school. Before attending Carnegie Mellon, she made influential relationships with women in technology at conferences and events, such as Carnegie Mellon's Our CS conference for undergraduate women and at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing where she met the INI Admissions team.

During the past three months in the Bay Area, she completed an internship at Lab126, networked with professionals, met entrepreneurs and executives, and had opportunities to sharpen her technical skills. While prizes like the Samsung phones represent bragging rights for the moment, the opportunities to mingle with CEOs, engineers and other professional women will remain as significant summer memories.

Pictured above, left to right: INI student Seetha Annamraju with team members Sophia Ngo and Aisha Green. Photo source: AT&T Women in Tech Hackathon on Facebook.

Republished from the Information Networking Institute