Get to know Women in Tech at the University


Barbara Rucci

Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the movements and innovations that were achieved by both individuals and groups who made the world a better place. The University is proud to host clubs and organizations that are run by such leaders and contributors. Learn more about Women in Tech at the University from club member and next year’s club president Angela Bonsol. 

Barbara Rucci: Tell me about the members of Women in Tech. Are most of your club members in Seidenberg? Is anyone a part of the club within a different school? 

Angela Bonsol: As far as the other members I’ve met, we would have a couple of members attend from Dyson or sometimes Lubin. Some of them have a Computer Science or Information Systems background. Some of them are brought by other friends, curious about what the club is about.  We had a “Design your own Femme notebook” event once and that was very popular with students outside of Seidenberg. Overall, active members are mostly Seidenberg, but we are very open to the idea of having other students from any school at the University or even other schools in NYC to attend our meetings. The goal of our club is to really just create a community for those, especially women, that feel undermined in the technology field. 

BR: I saw that you recently had your Sunflower Hackathon. Can you expand more on that experience? How have opportunities like this expanded on your personal growth? 

AB: SunflowerHack was a great success. My team and I are very proud of how it came out, we didn’t expect it to gain so much attention like that. SunflowerHack was an eight-hour hackathon, where people were challenged to make an idea come to life as much as possible based on our theme. The theme was authenticity, and we made it super broad so that people could really interpret it however they want. It was really interesting to watch everyone play out the event you had planned for them. I found it really satisfying and proud, of course. I really appreciated it when people stopped to tell me how great the event was going, it makes me even more proud of, not just myself, the whole team! We were all so passionate about this event. It was worth all the sleepless nights! There are so many we want to thank and we can’t thank them enough for everything! 

SunflowerHack really just made me realize how passionate I am about this club. Pace Women in Tech has really been part of who I am today, it is part of what defines me. To be part of a legacy such as SunflowerHack, I mean the first student-run hackathon hosted by Pace, it is truly an honor. It has definitely contributed to my personal growth, it widened my perspectives on the things I didn’t know I am capable of doing. It encouraged me that I could make my ideas, big or small, possible especially with the help of other passionate, hardworking and inspiring people. Anything is possible. 

BR: Since the University campus has closed for the rest of the semester due to all that is happening with COVID-19, how do you feel about students transitioning to online classes? Do you think platforms such as Zoom, Blackboard, or any others that the school is utilizing are reliable? 

AB: For me, it depends really on what class I am taking online. I take an online class at least once a semester. Because I am an international student, I am limited to one online class per semester anyway. So far, I am enjoying transitioning to online classes because I get to work on my own pace, for the most part. In addition, as a commuter, I don’t have to spend too much time and money to travel to get to school. Having all my classes online might be a little overwhelming in the long run, but I think it is do-able. There are a lot of students who actually do online classes to get certificates or licensing, sometimes a degree even. However, I do believe there are certain subjects better understood in-person, especially for hands-on learners. 

I am not so familiar with Zoom, but I believe Blackboard works well. I only had one class held on Blackboard since the transition. Our professor, who was a bit new to utilizing Blackboard for a virtual class, managed to fix minor issues pretty well. Although, I do think one advantage of that was that our professor seemed to have a good technological background. 

I know a lot of my friends don’t like the idea as much. I do think it’s not for everyone. It could be too much to keep up with due dates, especially if you’re not the most organized person. I think students could learn and get used to it eventually. 

BR: How does Women in Tech plan on continuing for the semester since we have moved to online learning? 

AB: As for what is going to happen this semester, we currently do not have a solid plan. We can definitely host some sort of online meeting. Pace Women in Tech members, or anyone curious, should still expect some sort of event(s) from us this semester.   

BR: What are your goals for the rest of the semester and into Fall 2020? 

AB: I believe our goal for the rest of the semester is to continue building that community within the club. The current Eboard is training the future Eboard, including myself, to really continue the flow of how Pace Women in Tech is supposed to be. We just want to ensure to keep in touch with everyone, make sure everyone is doing well, especially at a time like this. 

BR: What would you tell someone who is considering joining Women in Tech? 

AB: When I am at the Campus Activities Fair, I usually just tell students we, Women in Tech members, just want to create a community not just for women, but for anyone who feels discouraged in the tech industry. Everyone is welcome; you don’t need to be woman-identifying to attend. We also just want to create that bridge and encouragement for the minority group by providing hackathon and conference opportunities. Our keyword is definitely “community.” We like to keep the club on a personal level, getting to know one another and just help each other succeed.