History

WICC was founded in March 2013 to bring together women in computing fields at Cornell, expand their opportunities and successes, provide a support network of women, and empower them to encourage younger women to consider computing fields. We hope to create a budding community for women and promote interaction on academic, social, and professional issues. By making women in computing fields visible, providing role models and dispelling stereotypes, WICC fosters a support network to empower women and encourage young girls to discover their love for computing.

Executive Board

Harini Kannan
Information Science, CS & Business minors '18

Co-President

It was almost by chance that I landed into Information Science and CS. In high school, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do. I had a very mixed set of classes, definitely not all STEM so I never had this deeply rooted sense of commitment when it came to perhaps picking a STEM major in college. In senior year I decided to take AP Computer Science on a whim, knowing that it was not rigorously taught at my high school. However, I found myself becoming almost addicted to the mindset of a problem solver, from tiring analysis to utter frustration to ultimate satisfaction in the end. I didn't fall in love with computer science after compiling "Hello World!", though that's a nice anecdote. It took me an entire semester to realize that this may be something I want to pursue in college. As an information science major, I feel especially connected to idea of not being a programmer but being a problem solver and I love the scope Information Science provides in order to play that role. Through design, product strategy, and development I feel I can handle solving real problems in life through technology or at least design thinking. My ability to do this makes me happy that I chose the path that I did, and never once looked back.

Esther Jeon
Computer Science '19

Co-President

WICC was the organization that first exposed me to Computer Science. Junior year in high school, I participated in WICC’s very first outreach program, LearnCS. Even though I may not have retained every little JavaScript syntax afterwards, the important fact is that I saw other girls who were interested and WICC teachers to prove that this can be a possibility for me as well. As the previous Outreach Director, I was able to get a chance to return this opportunity for other students from my high school and more. Now, I hope to encourage not only these girls, but everyone else to explore CIS in some way.

Sofie Cornelis
Information Science, Computer Science Minor '19

Vice President

I took my first CS class junior year of high school when my school replaced AP Stats with AP Java. Being a huge math nerd, I was bumbed that they switched the class but after taking the Java I wanted to continue to explore computer science. Once I learned that Cornell had CS and IS, I was torn between the two but decided to major in Information Science because it allows me to get the technical skills of CS as well design thinking, product cycle, and much more.

Vinisha Mittal
Computer Science '18

Treasurer

I spent most of high school pretty undecided about what to pursue in college. I had always liked art, but never seriously considered it as a career path because I didn't want to give up my interest in math and science. When I realized my passion for art stemed from the creativity and problem solving needed to bring my ideas to life, I knew that I would pursue engineering because it involved everything I loved about art and allowed me to futher my studies in science. Computer Science, in particular, allows me to put these passions to work to solve nearly any problem that we face today, in any field imaginable!

Stephanie Mark
Information Science '20

Secretary

After a CS summer camp where I coded a unicorn painting rainbows all over the computer screen, I knew that computer science was a field I wanted to pursue. I was lucky to be empowered as a girl in tech by organizations such as Girls Who Code and #BUILTBYGIRLS throughout high school, and now I want to support that empowerment to the Women in Computing at Cornell! Though it is definitely not an easy field of study, the creative problem solving, sheer importance, and support of groups like WICC keep me going to pursue the awesomeness that is computer science.

Lavanya Kannan
Computer Science '19

Alumni Relations Director

I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue Computer Science until I started college. All of high school, I really liked Math and Science and was sure I wanted to be in an engineering field. I was still interested in other engineering disciplines (like ChemE). While choosing classes for my first semester, I enrolled in CS classes rather than ChemE in almost a whim. After my experience in these classes, I can't imagine pursuing any other major. It opened the doors to a whole new world and I realized how wide and relevant this field really is. I still had a lot of questions about the field in general and what I could do to get more experience, and this is where WICC really helped me. My mentor answered all my questions about coursework and finding for summer opportunities. I started attending every WICC event that I could because each taught me more and provided a community of people with similar interests as me. WICC has been extremely helpful for me and I hope to help others the same way.

Aasta Gandhi
Electrical/Computer Engineering, CS Minor '19

Career Development Co-Director

A professor once told me that engineers build the plane computer scientists pilot. But, I was interested in both building and developing. Cornell gives me the opportunity to do both while also collaborating with people in various fields. WICC gives me the opportunity to do the same but on a higher level – I get to have conversations and engage with engineering/CS people while learning and organizing events that help us learn more and prepare us for our futures. Moreover, WICC extends this sort of collaboration and opens doors for women, specifically, who are interested in technology, and I think that forcing focused discussions can help expose underlying discrimination that occurs in tech – a reason I chose to join WICC and come to Cornell (yay for almost 50% girls in engineering!). Fun fact: At least thirty people have asked me if I’m a CS major and gasp when I say I’m not

Jerica Huang
ISST + Computing in the Arts '18

Career Development Co-Director

From a very young age, I was captivated by anything related to computers or technology. But as I grew older and encountered new subjects, I easily became passionate about many of them: physics, art, mathematics, forensic science, law, and many more. Because all the subjects I loved were so diverse, I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up or a single passion that I wished to pursue. But recently, I realized that computer science is diverse and interdisciplinary enough to allow me to pursue everything I love to do. The way I see it, being a CS major is about communicating with machines via code to solve problems; and in the process, it enables ideas to evolve, to be shared, and be brought to life. I know that whether I study engineering, physical sciences, art, or even the humanities, there will definitely be an opportunity to apply my skills and interest in computer science.

Amber Zhen
Computer Science '19

Corporate Relations Co-Director

Like many others, it didn’t immediately occur to me that I wanted to study computer science. I always thought that chemistry was my calling, but sitting in my first chem class at Cornell, I knew that something was wrong. The passion and excitement wasn’t there, and I wasn’t completely sure my future self was going to be happy with this career. It was only after attending WICC events did I begin to seriously consider computer science. Despite my fears of never being as talented or accomplished as other programmers, WICC has given me the confidence to keep working hard until I achieve my goals. The members of WICC are crazy inspirational, and I know I would be lost at Cornell without them.

Amanda Chen
Information Science '19

Corporate Relations Co-Director

Computer science is awesome. I revel in how interdisciplinary it is and how I can combine it with my other interests of art, music, design, and language. What motivates me most to continue programming and work on projects is the ability CS affords me to make tangible social impact through code. I love being apart of WICC and supporting and getting to know other CS students in the community. I hope that through WICC, I can help make the CS community more welcoming and collaborative for everyone.

Julie Phan
Computer Science '20

Community Discussions Co-Director

My love affair with CS was a slow burn -- throughout my sophomore and junior year of HS, I’d been exposed to coding in ways here and there, but nothing clicked. Anything CS-related I’d tried my hand involved extremely explicit directions that didn’t allow for much self-direction or imagination. It was fun, but to me, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything substantial. It wasn’t until I joined Girls Who Code that I really fell in love with CS. I learned that CS is far from mindless output of code -- it’s problem solving at its core. It allows us to visualize a issue, determine potential solutions, and actualize that into a real product. As I further explored this field, I found my mindset towards everyday problems shifting -- rather than taking a “so be it” point of view, I started to instinctively brainstorm ways that said problems could be addressed. Since then, I’ve jumped at any opportunity I can get to build my own CS skills and help expose others to CS. WICC combines so many of my favorite things, most notably free food and female empowerment, and I love that through it, I can continue to help expand and improve the CS community.

May Zhou
Computer Science, Law and Society Minor '19

Community Discussions Co-Director

I didn't even consider Computer Science as a major until the end of my freshman year at Cornell. It was a terrifying leap of faith to change my major after taking my first CS course, but it was the best decision I've made at Cornell. It was the perfect way to combine my passion for art and design with math and science. I had a rough time transitioning to CS, whether it was insecurities about not coding since I was twelve like some of my peers or lacking readily available mentorship. I chose to join WICC last semester and it's definitely given me a platform not only to help others potentially in the position I was in last year, but to learn from an inspiring community of women as well. I'm also currently pursuing a law minor, because I'm interested in the intersection between technology and politics, and how it will play a role in public policy in the years to come. I hope that what I create with CS will benefit my community and the people around me.

Aimee Slupski
Information Science & Psychology '19

Design and Publications Director

In my senior year of high school I chose to take the course "Information Technology in a Global Society" as an elective. The course overviewed Adobe products, as well as introductory coding languages. Ultimately, this course inspired my love of working with clients to create unique products. Since then, I have been involved on Cornell's campus with marketing, public relations, and web development. As the Design and Publications Director, I am excited to work with all of the CIS community as well as their partners, to expand the visibility of events and organizations through design.

Caitlin Stanton
Computer Science '20

Faculty Relations Director

After participating in the Girls Who Code summer immersion program the summer before my junior year, I was hooked on coding. It was there that I was introduced to the world of websites and algorithms in a way that was infinitely more enjoyable than my Intro to CS class at school. Ever since then, I've made it a point to be as active in the CS community as possible, whether it's attending hackathons, teaching classes, or going to tech talks. That's led me to help found two hackathons (def hacks() and PixieHacks), intern at AOL as a #BUILTBYGIRLS intern and IAC as a Software Engineering intern, and work on multiple side projects simultaneously. I'm a double major in Electrical/Computer Engineering and Computer Science, and I hope to learn how to work with hardware (and the Raspberry Pi I still haven't opened from Christmas). Outside coding, I'm dedicated to my passions of brunch, movies, and Netflix. As Faculty Relations Director, I'm determined to help the CS community at Cornell learn as much as they can from those who are experts in their field.

Rachel Wells
Hotel Administration, CS or IS minor '18

Growth Strategies Director

I fell deeply into a love/hate relationship with Java the minute I tried to compile my first high school CS assignment. At the end of the semester, after realizing that my passion for CS would not wane, I asked the head of our technology department, "what's next?" I was shocked to learn that there were no further classes to be taken nor expansion of the curriculum. I consider the word "no" to simply be an objection to be overcome, therefore, I reached out to Girls Who Code (with another student who is now a Cornellian!) and brought my all-girls high school a robust plan to deliver CS courses to women. Although the classes were initially met with resistance, the Girls Who Code Club has turned into one of our high school's biggest and the STEM curriculum has flourished K-12. I'm not a CS major; I'm a Hotelie but I seek to marry the two as I am witness to the Hospitality industry's mounting reliance on technology to drive it forward. My plan is to make a difference in both worlds. Fun Fact: Won a hackathon my first year coding.

Avani Bhargava
Computer Science '20

Mentorship Co-Director

As a lover of both technology and language, when I learned Visual Basic in my first programming class in eighth grade, I discovered that many of the things I enjoy about language and communication—problem-solving, helping, and inventiveness—were integral to CS, too. I found that it felt extremely satisfying to creatively reduce problems to solvable pieces, and as I took online courses to further explore CS throughout high school, I became determined to expose others to a potential passion for CS as well. Through co-founding and teaching a free, one-week CS workshop for middle school students for the past two years, my belief in this mission has been reinforced by the progress in students’ attitudes over the course of the workshop—from apprehensive to enthusiastic about coding. Similarly, I strongly believe in empowering women to pursue and succeed in CS and to be confident members of the CS community, and as Mentorship Co-Director in WICC, I am excited to accomplish this goal by fostering support networks that will provide guidance and encouragement for WICC members.

Saakshi Singhal
Computer Science, Business Minor '18

Mentorship Co-Director

I remember the day I fell in love with CS. I was sitting in an intro programming class and we learned how to write a simple Hangman game in less than twenty lines of code. Needless to say I didn't learn any programming for the rest of the class because I was too busy playing the game. But from that day onwards, I realized how just powerful computer science could be. When I tried to convince some of my other female friends to take a programming class with me, a lot of them responded by saying "but we're going to be the only girls in the class" or "I'm not smart enough to program". It dawned on me that the lack of women in technical fields can be intimidating and prevent young girls from discovering the magic of computer science. When I came to college and noticed the same problem among incoming freshman, I decided it was time to do my part and help foster a community that allows women in STEM fields to connect with each other. Through WICC, I have met so many amazing, inspiring and well rounded people. As Mentorship Co-Director, I hope to help other students make those lifelong connections as well.

Melody Spencer
Computer Science '18

Outreach Co-Director

In high school, I joined a programming club on a whim. I learned C++ and went to competitions with my friends. It was, by far, the most fun thing I'd ever done at school. By the end of junior year, I knew I wanted to major in CS some day. I took two CS classes at Worcester Polytech before graduating high school and coming to Cornell. I don't remember exactly when I became aware that women were underrepresented in CS. Perhaps it was the weird feeling I got at high school competitions, or the little comments I'd hear in college, or the articles I'd read online. As an avid gamer who grew up playing N64 with my brother and father, I constantly wonder how my upbringing has affected my interest in science and technology. By my freshman year, I was well aware of the gender disparities and looking to inspire young women like me. I taught for a Girls Who Code 8-week coding summer camp and currently teach for the LearnCS High School program with WiCC.

Nina Ray
Computer Science '19

Outreach Co-Director

Before coming to Cornell, the most CS experience I had was making fun little websites for a gaming site - nothing to put me amongst the ranks of those who had been coding for years. Ever since joining WiCC, I have been introduced to a community of people who have given nothing but love and support to me, and I hope to return that tenfold. To be a woman of color in this field is a tricky thing, and I would have felt incredibly lost at Cornell if I had never joined WiCC. I have learned to love CS, even at its worst moments, because of this organization and it's mission to make it accessible to everyone, rather than to a select few. As an Outreach Co-Director, I take it on a personal level to spread this accessibility to girls who might otherwise have never been exposed to Computer Science, and therefore would have missed out on incredible opportunities.

Katie Gioioso
Computer Science '19

Outreach Co-Director

I took my first Computer Science class my first semester at Cornell and quickly grew to like it. It was systematic, logical, and organized. Everything had a reason and an explanation. It was perfect for me. My biggest fear going in to the Computer Science major was that I would be spending the rest of my life coding in some basement with no exposure to the outside world. That is not CS. CS is applicable to every aspect of the outside world. As a CS major you get to choose what you want to do with it, where you want to make an impact. As an outreach co-director for WiCC, I hope to help others realize this too.

Richa Deshpande
Computer Science '18

Publicity Co-Director

All through high school, I had no idea what to major in at the college level or what creer to pursue in my future. I did know however, that I was passionate about mathematics, physics, and helping others. I found myself going after an engineering degree and more specifically a Computer Science degree in order to bring all of these passions together. Still, I was anxious about Computer Science because of the various stereotypes that were present. WICC helped me learn that these stereotypes are meant to be broken and joining this organization freshman year empowered me to follow through with the major. I love that WICC brings together male and female Computer Scince majors and I love contributing to this comraderie by directing social events. Just as Computer Science brings together so many skills, WICC brings together many unique people for a common purpose: to make Computer Science accessible to all.

Paris Korman
Information Science '19

Publicity Co-Director

Computer Science never felt like an accessible subject to me in high school and I found very few women around me to be interested in pursuing it. After encouragement from family, I decided to try my first course during my first semester freshman year. I looked around and realized the discrepency between how many women were learning to code with me versus the complete lack of any women involved at my high school. I loved the course and was blown away by the support of women in the class. I decided to pursue Information Science since I have always loved visual design and psychology. I had no idea WICC existed until one of my close friends brought me to an event. WICC has connected me to women who help me get through absolutely anything whether I am completely confused by CS classes or stressing about what I want to do with my life or even applying for internships. As publicity co-director, I hope to make our organization more accessible to women at Cornell and help them to see the community of women here to support everyone interested in computing.

Emma Clark
Computer Science '20

Social Events Director

I grew up with an electrical engineering professor as a mother. Naturally, I was always surrounded by STEM. From helping her build LEGO robots to watching in awe as she used a circuit to put a spinning bunny on top of my hat for my kindergarten’s crazy hat day, STEM was normal to me. It was especially normal for me to see a woman, my mother, be successful in STEM. She was always my role model, and I dreamed of pursuing a career like hers. It wasn’t until high school that my perceptions changed and I began to lose confidence in STEM classes. I went to a male-dominated engineering high school where I often felt out of place or as if I were looked down upon. I loved my computer science classes, but all my classmates seemed to know the information before the teacher even taught it. I always felt behind and like I wasn’t smart enough for computer science. It wasn’t until I came to Cornell and met women just like me in WICC that I regained the confidence I once had in my childhood to pursue a career in computer science. I saw seniors that reminded me of myself succeeding in computer science at Cornell and I thought to myself, “if they can do it, I can too.” Through my position in WICC, I hope to help more women regain the confidence they need to pursue computer science.

Alice Zhou
Information Science, Systems, and Technology, with Business Minor '19

Website Co-Director

I still remember the first time I saw a computer and the wonders I felt for the unlimited information at the grasp of my fingers on the internet. From then on, I’ve self-taught HTML/CSS to design a prettier MySpace page when I was ten, to working on a front-end security feature at Twitter HQ this past summer. I really enjoy a diverse array of interests, such as event planning, project management, and am interested in looking at tech in the social/human contexts. WICC is perfect for me in that, it is not only a club dedicated to women empowerment in the tech industry but also a club with board members of diverse interests thriving at the interdisciplinary boundaries of computing and the arts/music/business, etc. No one here fits into the common stereotype of “the CS major”.

Julia Yang
Computer Science '19

Website Co-Director

I was first introduced to CS through an introductory Java class during my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I found an interest in art (sketching, painting, you name it), but also loved math. I thought that there was no way for the two to be combined, they seemed to be at opposite ends of the whole 'career spectrum.' But I realized that it was possible through computer science, with technical code in conjunction with the endless possibilites of design. It was daunting to me though, because I felt like there were so many existing stereotypes. I was one out of three girls in a class of over 25 people, and always felt like I could never be good enough. But WICC has showed me not to be discouraged by this, but let this be the reason TO pursue the subject. The CS community and WICC are so welcoming to so many people of different races and backgrounds that you know you're not alone, and that there's always someone you can reach out to.