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Women in Technology lead the way for new semester
Alex Keimig
Women in Cybersecurity, Houston chapter.
Women in Cybersecurity, Houston chapter.
Student Society of Human Resource Development members and alumni, from an event in Spring 2023.
Student Society of Human Resource Development members and alumni, from an event in Spring 2023.

New friends, free food, free stuff – what's not to love?

The Cat's Back, the University of Houston's traditional welcome back event for new and returning students, took place late August as campus came back to life with the start of the semester. Hundreds of registered and sponsored student groups claimed space across the second floor of Student Center South to table, poster, and connect with their fellow Cougars as prospective new members.

Amidst the whirlwind of the first week of classes and numerous other welcome-back events on the calendar, student members of two Technology Division groups – the Student Society of Human Resource Development (SSHRD) and Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) – still found time to proudly represent and recruit for their organizations at this event.

All four representatives – two officers from each group – just so happened to be women. While SSHRD is not an exclusive or women-only organization like WiCyS, they do boast an all-women officer team and represent a predominantly female professional field.

Vice president Lauren Draper and secretary Averey Mokry are eager to reach potential new members who may benefit from joining SSHRD but not have been introduced to the group yet.

"We're really hoping to get the word out about our organization,” Mokry said. “Coming in, I didn't know about SSHRD until I came to The Cat's Back myself. I know there's a bunch of human resource development and consumer sciences students who don't know about our organization but could really benefit from everything we have to offer.”

"We also just rolled out our renewed mentorship program," Draper added. "We have 20 to 25 industry professionals all across the board. We're inviting them to our volunteering events, to our banquet, and then every semester we also hold an alumni mixer or alumni panel for them to come back and share their wisdom. They can share what their everyday lives are like in the jobs that we hope to be in soon."

Princess Ejim, vice president of WiCyS, shares a similar goal and message for her organization.

"We really want to try our best to make a difference,” she said. “We want to help people get the skills that we use in the industry: leadership skills, technical skills. We need to know what the industry is looking for, and bridge the gap between education and professional needs.”

Areeba Zahir, President of WiCyS, added another layer of context.

"We're really trying to get more women involved in cybersecurity,” she said. “The field is still quite male-dominated, with only 24 percent [of cybersecurity professionals being] women. We want to change that.”

Women continue to innovate, grow, transform, and break barriers within technology industries and professions. With its many student organizations and mentorship opportunities in addition to academic and professional resources, the Technology Division is no exception.

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