Tech Hub, the official technology store at Ohio State, is hosting its third annual Women in Technology networking night Tuesday, complete with a guest speaker, Q&A session and networking opportunity. The main goal of the event is to break down barriers women face in the technology field and raise awareness of the different tracks in technology that can be taken.
Sydney Kuehn, marketing and communications coordinator for Tech Hub, said technology is not just STEM-, computer science- or coding-focused, and the event is meant to reduce that intimidation factor.
“It’s really just about building bonds and cultivating that community of, ‘Women can be interested and should be interested in technology and not intimidated,’ and Tech Hub wants to be behind that,” Kuehn said.
Kuehn found the event’s guest speaker in Holly Drake, the university’s first chief privacy officer. Kuehn said Drake will help Tech Hub get behind that goal as Drake speaks on her experience in the technology field, what she has to offer the university in her new position, and general advice for students as they navigate networking opportunities and develop communication skills.
Drake said there is a lot of privacy activities both at the medical center and in the colleges, but she will help to “sort of weave all those practices together into a comprehensive program.” She also noted that she hopes to discuss ethical uses of the data, and how the university can use the data available.
She plans to talk about her unexpected journey into privacy at the networking event, Drake said. She started out with a degree in 19th century Russian literature. She said when she couldn’t find a job with that, she then to turned social work and then to finance and banking.
“I’m glad I made that choice because it led to something else,” Drake said.
She added that students today have more pressure to major in something practical, but as long as they have good communication skills, they will find their paths.
“I think what I used to worry about more was taking that first step because what if they didn’t like me or what if it didn’t work out?” Drake said. “But just make that connection and be brave. And if the first person you don’t make a connection with, make another connection. That’s what that night’s for.”
Drake’s technology background made her a good candidate for the guest-speaking position, but Kuehn said the networking night will also be an opportunity for Drake to introduce herself more to the university and help the audience generate an understanding of cyber security and how to navigate it.
Kuehn said privacy has become a major issue in today’s society, and it is good to have someone with Drake’s experience in that area.
As for Drake, she said she is excited to connect with students.
“One of the things that’s exciting about working at Ohio State is getting to work with all of the brilliant faculty and staff, but then just connecting with students, and hopefully things that I’ve learned are helpful or give them a spark or an idea,” Drake said.
All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the Women in Technology networking night at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Campbell Hall 100. Light refreshments will be provided; RSVP is not required, but encouraged at https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0eXcVIXPAhZTOTP; and the dress code is business casual.