ICT Celebrates Women in Technology

The Information Communication Technology (ICT) program was invited to attend College to Career: Get IT Here women in technology event on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 4-7:30 p.m. in the William T. Young Library Auditorium at the University of Kentucky. 

Goal: To encourage women students to attend and hear female professionals speak enthusiastically, candidly, and personally about the wide range of careers in IT and related fields. 

Regina Kunkle, State & Local Higher Education (SLED) Vice President at SAP and moderator kicked off the event with a one-hour panel comprised of 9 women who are thought leaders in their field. Over 50 students and professionals filed into the auditorium to hear from the panel line-up, which included: 

  • Dr. Nancy Cox, Dean of UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;

  • Aldona Valicenti, CIO of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government;

  • Leya Thomas, Pharmaceutical Sales Rep for InVentiv Health for Janseen Pharmaceuticals;

  • Carol Steltenkamp, Chief Medical Information Officer at UK HealthCare;

  • Andrea (Payne) Wilson, Engineering Management at Lexmark;

  • Shelby Albers, #IAmAWomanInSTEM student team leader and recent UK grad;

  • Ashley McKenzie, Senior Account Executive at Adobe Software, Inc.;

  • With a special visit from Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton!

Additional information about each speaker may be found on the event web site

After brief introductions from the panel, Kunkle invited the audience to ask questions. Specifically, students were interested in knowing how the group juggled family and work-life, the ways in which they navigated a career change, and most importantly: the female attributes that increase a woman's ability to thrive in tech. The panel shared some of the characteristics that had made them particularly successful like their ability to collaborate, to show empathy, and how they weren't afraid to ask questions when they didn't understand or required clarity. 

Aldona Valicenti, CIO for the city of Lexington said, "advancing to the next position means to reinvent yourself." Valicenti encouraged that students continue learning about the newest tech, putting themselves out there, and to surround themselves with mentors. She was formerly a consultant for CGI and Vice President of business development and strategy for Oracle, Corp. 

The 3 C's: Competence, Confidence, and Commitment - Aldona Valicenti 

Valicenti will return to UK's campus in November to speak to Lecturer Deloris Foxworth's ICT 150: Experience ICT class about the use of ICTs in government. 

A networking reception was held shortly after the panel. Students were able to speak with the panel one-on-one and learn more about how they could pave their way in the technology field. Students were also given cue cards that outlined a few icebreaker questions they might ask a networker. Those students who collected at least three signatures from networkers or a panel member were entered into a drawing for an Apple Watch, among other prizes! 


Many thanks to those who sponsored this event and made it possible for students at the University of Kentucky, including: SAP, Inc.UK Analytics & TechnologiesUK Women in Executive Leadership Development (WELD) ProgramUK Stuckert Career Center, and the #IAmAWomanInSTEM movement

About #IAmAWomanInSTEM

In partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Kentucky Branch, a group of UK faculty, staff and students got together in fall 2015 to propose a new movement called #IAmAWomanInSTEM. This effort is in support of undergraduate women who have taken on the daunting task of persevering in majors (or minors) that rely primarily on the sciences, technologies and mathematics – including engineering and health care professions (aka STEM+H). Inspired by the #distractinglysexy social media campaign launched by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, the IAmAWomanInSTEM steering team has called for volunteers at UK (and beyond) to create a constructive and supportive space for women to showcase their important contributions to STEM+H related academic and professional work.