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Success Stories

Alumnae

Gail Amurao

Family Room Specialist, Apple Inc.


Gail Amurao looks back at how having been an ACE helps her today with her job at the Apple Store. Even though Gail was on track to becoming a doctor, she started working in Barnard College's Lehman Computer Center as a Web Development Assistant. She later wanted to apply for an ACE position because she felt that she had the know-how to troubleshoot PCs and Macs. But was Gail able to hit the ground running?

“Having people count on me to know about something and to know how to fix it

makes the big difference in how I value my experience as an ACE.”


Not quite. But because of the environment at Student Computing Services, she was nurtured into a proficient ACE. Gail is happy now because those years in IT and web design proved not only influential, but successful. Having been groomed already to reach out to users and explain the complexity of their computer problems - her days at the Apple Store are a cinch.

 

Rachael Conniff

Infrastructure Technical Support Analyst, Accenture


Rachael was a busy Art History and Sociology double major. She liked learning about the history of visual arts and about understanding human societies. She knew she always had a knack for computers - so when looking for a job one summer, she decided on becoming an ACE. Between juggling her shifts and her classes, Rachael succeeded in developing into a very skillful ACE. But even with this accomplishment, Rachael never intended for her IT career go any further after graduation.

 

“That’s the beauty of having been an ACE:

You can come in with almost no tech support abilities, build up a skill set,  

and leave with a pretty good working knowledge and be able to jump in anywhere.”


However, Rachael did continue to apply her IT skills. She became a freelance computer technician shortly after graduation through inadvertently forming a clientele made up of mostly Barnard College alumnae. Time has passed since and now she’s an Infrastructure Technical Support Analyst for the top-notch global consulting firm, Accenture. At Accenture, she not only manages technology, but people as well. Right now, Rachael loves the fact that she’s been able to incorporate her degree education into her IT career!

Because of all that’s happened, Rachael urges all Barnard students to develop their skill set in technology - even if they don’t intend to make a career out of it. She says, “It’s just so pivotal. And you just never know...”

Daphne Larose

Computer Science Graduate Student, Georgia Institute of Technology

Daphne Larose is a Barnard Alumna of the class of 2010. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Daphne started out intending to study the humanities but realized that, “studying computers is what [she] really wanted to do.” She recognized this passion while working at Student Computing and declared a Computer Science (CS) major. Being an ACE was instrumental in the way Daphne pursued her interest in CS because it provided a starting point for subsequent opportunities. She says: “Besides telling interviewers about the knowledge I gained from being on the job, I also focus on the times when I used leadership skills.”

"Even if studying computers and doing Information Technology work isn’t your life-long goal, just learning how to lead and work with people, are all really important skills that you use in all facets of life. I would definitely recommend this job."

"I enjoyed helping my peers solve their computer issues, and knowing things from the trivial Microsoft Word to something much more complex like the Blue Screen. Being able to handle a whole range of problems and customer service are two of the most crucial lessons I learned as an ACE. One thing I always liked about being an ACE, was that we were encouraged to train students about their computers, and show them ‘Here’s what you need, step-by-step, to solve this problem, so you know what to do the next time.’”

"I made a lot of friends through working at Resnet [now called Student Computing]; I met a lot of like-minded people. While I took all of my classes at SEAS, as soon as I stepped on Barnard’s campus, it was difficult to talk about the types of issues or struggles I might have faced in my classes, or complain about how difficult and time-consuming my homework was with my other friends because their majors had totally different expectations and requirements. At Resnet, I met people who always had an interest in CS, and some of them had even taken CS classes before, so it was refreshing. It was through being an ACE that I was able to create such a community for myself on the Barnard campus."

Sabrina Lopez

Clinical Research Coordinator, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Sabrina Lopez graduated from Barnard in 2010. She worked as an ACE for one year and was promoted to Senior ACE, a position she held for two years before graduating. She currently works at the Psychiatry department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Prior to college, Sabrina had only a year’s experience with a personal computer and felt "barely computer literate." After becoming an ACE, she felt comfortable working with technology and now applies it in her job as a clinical research coordinator. As a Senior ACE, Sabrina simultaneously learned the foundations of internal database management and how to upload and maintain an internal Wiki database. Sabrina states that "[one] of the reasons I was hired at my current position was because of this skill – now I use this skill to manage industry drug trials and projects for The National Institute of Health." Sabrina gives these words of wisdom for all those interested in applying: "If you are interested in expanding your technical knowledge, which has become a necessary foundation for any job and field out there, then become an ACE."

“Because BCIT is located at an all-women’s institution, I felt comfortable knowing that everyone I will be working with valued women in technology and breaking the stereotype that only men can enter the field.”

Adrienne Rau

Senior Performance Engineer, Accenture

Within the past three years, Adrienne has worked as a software engineer and a systems/support engineer. These roles supplemented her current position at Accenture, where she helps clients choose the best and most efficient foundations for their websites. She also held several positions at BCIT: before becoming an RCA, she worked as a Lab Consultant (a position which ACEs now cover) in the Barnard computer labs, and applied to be an RCA when she realized she had many of the requisite skills. These skills, in turn, helped her in her internship with Operations in her senior year -- "it all built up," she says. One of her favorite aspects of the RCA position was watching other Barnard students understand that technical problems weren't as intimidating as they first seemed. "Don't be scared," she advises -- "play around, let stuff happen."

"I applied and discovered I had more computer skills than I knew I did."

"I would not have the job I do now if I hadn't been an RCA."

"I wouldn't say I wasn't interested in technology, but it was just sort of there. My computer would get a virus, I'd reformat it, I'd start again -- that was about it. I'd never really considered a career in technology."

Megan Westerby

Social Networking Coordinator, Recording Academy

A four-year student employee of BCIT – first as an RCA and later as Manager of Student Computing – Megan saw a lot of changes both in technology and in BCIT. She experienced how the advent of new technologies, like Facebook, changed the way students interact with technology and says: "you could feel the sea change in an understanding of technology." Even before working as an RCA, Megan knew she wanted to work with technology, describing herself as having been a "digital native -- but at the time, no one had a word for that."

Although “everyone tended to think of computing as programming” during her time at Barnard, Megan found herself primarily interested in the social aspect of technology, or: “how people connect using computers.” She now works for the Grammys in the field of social media, which she describes as “the interaction between sociology and technology.”

"Never be ashamed or think that your interest in technology should fall underneath your interest in anything else in life. Let them co-mingle and find a place inside of you that can synthesize technology and whatever else you're interested in. "

"If your inclination is to do something digitally that has a liberal arts basis, that is...quite tremendous."

"It's a complicated matter, putting a life like this together that doesn't really exist yet, but very rewarding when you succeed."

Mia Neustein

Recent Graduate, Barnard College, Class of 2011

Mia Neustein is a Barnard College graduate of the Class of 2011. Commenting on the interview she had in order to be hired as an ACE, Mia was honest and said that she didn’t have much of a background in computers. She was good at teaching her grandparents how to access email attachments and her mother how to use a Blackberry. Indeed, she emphasized that “part of being an ACE is really about trying to empower your fellow students to gain comfort with their own computers.” Mia is interested in public health, education, and work in the nonprofit sector. The organization at which she recently interned empowers women by teaching them leadership skills, how to run political campaigns, how to fundraise money, how to debate, and how to conduct media interviews. Her experience as an ACE proved useful when she assisted the IT department in updating the organization’s website with HTML coding.

"I found out about the ACE position because I stopped by the Barnard Library, back when we were still in Lehman Computer Center, to visit my dear friend Abbey, an ACE, who was in the middle of printing out flyers to promote the ACE position. The flyers said, ‘Wanna earn money? Wanna learn about computers? Become an ACE!’ And I said, ‘I want to do both of those things!’"

"I started as a sophomore in my second semester; in training they had all the ACEs who were working. You had Senior ACES, you had people who have been working there for many semesters, who maybe have been studying computer science, and then you had people like me who never worked as an ACE or have a computer background. I kept thinking, ‘Oh my, they’re going to fire me!’ when they find out I don’t know any of this [computer] stuff. But the truth is that, you learn it on the job."

"Balancing work and school was a consideration. I’m here in college to learn and have fun, and I didn’t want the job to get in the way of that. One of the great things about being an ACE is that it’s probably one of the jobs on campus that has the most flexible hours because we are open for so many hours during the week, especially because during the weekdays, we’re usually open from 9am to 11pm."