I had the privilege of attending the first meeting of the Women in STEM organization on September 18th. What an experience that was for me! I had an overwhelming sense of solace as I looked around and saw many women for the first time interested in similar fields as myself. The awesome baked ziti in conjunction with this video helped kick off the first meeting with a bang! Lisa Seacat Deluca is just one of the many women I look up to and it was a surprise to see her pop up right in the beginning of our meeting. The basic mission of the Women in STEM organization is to provide support and help women achieve an even level playing field in a world dominated by men. They host resume writing and soft skills workshops, connect its members to mentors in the field, host field trips, and participate in, or host events such as the Maryland STEM festival, the Cyber Start Challenger, and a summer camp for high school student in which members can volunteer with.
Before I delve further into the first meeting, if you are a woman interested in anything STEM related, please don’t hesitate to join us for our next meeting! the Women in STEM organization meets once a month on Tuesdays from 3:00pm – 4:30pm in HTEC 115 on the Catonsville campus, and HTEC 216 on the Essex campus. Our next meeting will be on October 23rd! It’s a great way to network with like-minded women and take advantage of great opportunities provided by the organization.
I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing woman by the name of Sheena. Sheena was a bit older than me, but she has accomplished so much in just 26 years of life! I discovered that she is a mother, and has 6 years under her belt in the Air Force as an intelligence analyst before coming to CCBC, and that she was no stranger to the club. She loved everything that this organization represented and encompassed so much that she’s been an active member since the beginning of its creation. Sheena is double majoring in Network Technology with focuses in Cisco and in Redhat Linux and is currently waiting for clearance from the government to start a career in systems administration. If you’re reading this Sheena, you are an incredible woman!
After connecting with one other member, we were introduced to the speaker for the meeting, Ms. Angie Lienert, who is the co-founder, president, and CEO of IntelliGenesis. She took us on the journey of her life in the tech field, which ironically began the same way as Sheena’s journey did. Ms. Lienert had also spent 6 years in the Air Force as an Arabic Linguist. She pursued her education while being enlisted, and finished her Associates in Communications, her Bachelors in Liberal Studies, and even a Masters in Business Administration, all before leaving the Air Force. Once it came time for her to find a career she looked around and asked herself “What are people looking for nowadays?” At every job fair she attended she saw employers looking for web developers, so she decided she’d become educated in web development.
Ms. Lienert became proficient in HTML and Java and did find jobs in web development, but found that she just didn’t love it. At the same time, complex problems arose in the technology field, and specifically in cybersecurity, which piqued her interest enough for her to jump into that field. She said she loves being able to create and problem solve, and her hard work was noticed within the company she was working for, as it led to many promotions. But, as she rose higher and higher within the company, she was taken away from her team and passions. Dealing with many frustrations, Ms. Lienert decided she wanted to start a company that would break the mold that traditional tech companies had created and enforced.
She co-founded IntelliGenesis with a male counterpart, who she later sued when he hit a mid-life crisis, started getting himself in trouble, and stopped doing his fair share for the company. In 2012, she became the sole owner of a company that now employs 92 tech-savvy innovators. Ms. Lienert says her days are pretty crazy, and some of her duties include reading through proposals and contracts, tracking the company’s progress, strengthening its competitiveness with other companies, and troubleshooting failures within the company. She says her passion is with veterans, and with women, and her passions do show! 66% of her employees are veterans, and 50% of them are women! She definitely inspired me as she concluded her time with us.
The one piece of advice she wanted to share with us before she had to run to catch another meeting was:
“Try new things. Put yourself out there; It’s okay to fail, but work through the failures.”
I’m sure it resonated not just in myself, but in all of the women in the room that day. Thank you so much Ms. Lienert! Keep kicking butt!