The contributions of UC women working in IT are featured in this annual Women’s History Month article by the UC Women in Tech Committee. The WIT group from each UC location submitted one woman or one team of women for recognition this year. These stories are great examples of the thousands of UC women who drive and support the technology so critical to the UC mission.
Emily Young, Support Specialist, OIT/SaS, UC Irvine
Emily Young makes a difference at UCI by striving to create a more inclusive, supportive, and education-oriented environment for all. In the tech sector, they are a true Renaissance person, with the ability to perform front-line end-user support, Agile facilitation as Scrum leader, both high- and low-level software quality assurance, user interface design, front-end development, and 3rd party software procurement management. Regularly contributing to multiple groups in the IT department and beyond, including pitching to provide QAs, contracting support, and retrospective facilitation for other teams, participation in the WebApp Author’s Learning League, membership in the IT accessibility workgroup, and chairing the Agile Forum. They empower their peers to carry the same torch of accessibility and inclusion, making their effect even more potent.
Axa Liauw, UX Designer and Dianne Weinthal, Junior UX Designer, UCLA Library Digital Initiatives & Information Technology, UC Los Angeles
As a tight-knit user experience (UX) team working within the UCLA Library Digital Initiatives & Information Technology group, the contributions of Axa Liauw and Dianne Weinthal are exemplified by the release of UCLA Library’s Impact Report website. Axa and Dianne applied their expertise to develop a cutting-edge design token development process and utilized GitHub actions for automating code reviews and releases, creating a more effective collaboration with their software developer colleagues. The website provides a detailed overview of how the library adjusted its operations throughout the pandemic to ramp up remote services and keep knowledge moving forward.
Regana Staccato-Johnson, Telecommunications Analyst, UC Office of the President
The COVID crisis presented Regana with a new challenge to support employees working from home. To ensure they received their mobile devices and other peripherals in a timely manner, she quickly scaled up her shipping and receiving service. As an essential employee she continued working in the office, performing her duties with a smile. Her outstanding customer-service skills are apparent when she provisions telecommunications equipment for staff at all levels, starting at the top with President Drake and his executive staff. Every request is treated with urgency, including troubleshooting and equipment repairs.
Lisa Schwieso, Business Operations Manager, College of Letters & Science Dean’s Office, UC Davis
The business officers who support IT are essential and often unsung heroes. For the Letters and Science IT team at UC Davis, every cable purchased, every recharge rate established, every payroll or leave issue that required special care and attention goes through Lisa Schwieso. With continued remote operations, the creation of several IT-centered programs to procure and distribute the necessary equipment was necessary, and Lisa played key roles. A fantastic partner, she alerts the IT team when changes in policy and procedure affect operations; analyzes how to best accomplish work while meeting compliance goals; and brings a fresh and pragmatic eye to streamlining budgeting and accounting practices. Lisa also has worked on policy initiatives, such as clarifying the rules around ownership of equipment purchased on fellowship funds. She and her team are as indispensable as systems administrators and software developers.
Elysia Liaw, Media Specialist, Academic Design, Innovation & Technology, UC Berkeley Extension
Elysia Liaw—one of the two people of color in the Academic Design, Innovation, and Technology unit at UC Berkeley Extension—is the lone female of the media team. She organized monthly DEI conversations for the Extension Department. In one of the sessions, she shared her experiences of anti-Asian sentiment, emphasized the importance of active engagement toward change, and helped frame future sessions. Department staff have all been inspired to do additional training since and continued to frankly discuss paths to change. Towards the end, she served on the last hiring committee and influenced the way candidates were recruited and evaluated.
Fernanda Rojas, Classroom and Remote Instruction Technology Specialist, Information Technology Solutions, UC Riverside
Fernanda leads a help desk that offers on-call technical support and training to instructors using on-site and remote classroom technologies, as well as audio-visual support for campus events. Her immediate team is composed of three female professional staff; however, she coordinates oversight of 51 student workers who support UCR’s multimedia services. Although she does not serve in a formal supervisory role, Fernanda is a valued leader in IT. In the last year, she has helped develop training materials to improve the onboarding process for student workers, standardized processes and procedures, and created a recognition program to celebrate and reward student workers for their achievements.
Terri Donly, Nursing Informatics, UC Irvine Health
Terri has worked across the spectrum of UCI. She transitioned through nursing units and also served as a nurse manager. Terri has held the “operational awareness” torch for IT analysts. She partners tirelessly with nursing to improve processes in the electronic medical record system Epic and other systems. Her natural leadership and nursing informatics knowledge are invaluable to supporting data collection and reporting incidences of hospital-borne infections related to indwelling urinary catheters and central venous catheters. She is the model of an accomplished IT woman who displays and spreads the UCI values in every interaction with nurses and beyond.
Anne Weger, Timekeeping (Kronos) Systems Analyst, Application & Technology Services – Enterprise Technology Services, UC Santa Barbara
During a recent unanticipated Kronos/timekeeping outage, Anne supported the entire campus community. As the director of Application & Technology Services put it, “If you got paid during the months of the outage, you can thank Anne for making that happen.” Anne provided direction, expertise, and a lot of hours to carry technical payroll during the 32-day outage. Her efforts involved interim solutions, long-term plans, recommendations and communications to stakeholders, consolidation and testing of payroll information, coordination with the UC Path Center and the vendor, system configuration and validation, and finally, resumption of services. Anne brings a sense of calm to her projects—both planned and unplanned. Always prepared, she anticipates questions, offers solutions, and moves projects along so the right things are done in the best way possible.
Nina Emerson, Director of CareConnect Inpatient Applications, UCLA Health
On April 19, 2021, UCLA Health began work on building an emergency shelter to house thousands of unaccompanied migrant children. Four days later, the first bus of children arrived to the fully staffed and fully electronic facility to receive much needed medical attention and support. The CareConnect Inpatient application team at UCLA Health IT, led by Nina Emerson, played an integral role in the success of the temporary shelter, building an entire hospital system EMR (electronic medical records) in less than 4 days. Nina encouraged her team to think creatively; no idea was ever a bad idea. She made her team feel supported and took time to recognize everyone for their invaluable contributions. Through ingenuity, dedication, countless hours, and Nina’s leadership, the team did the impossible—no other emergency shelter site had a fully functional EMR on day one.
Seema Ahuja, Cloud Environment Manager and Interim SIS Manager, UC Merced
Seema is a team player! She is dedicated to making positive changes and has a collaborative attitude. She not only excels in coordinating projects and working with different teams, but also takes the time to build a relationship with people. Seema connects with people at a personal level and rapidly discerns individual needs, moves efficiently to provide key information, and provides her expertise and planning skills. A founding IT staff member at UC Merced, Seema has led several projects with timely delivery. Most recently, she embraced the challenge of taking on the role of interim Student Information System manager, in addition to her current roles of cloud environment manager and UC Path project manager. She is very adaptable and always willing to step up to the plate.
Adult True North Scorecard Dream Team, UCSF Health
Emily Stanforth, Dana Carrington, Bilwa Buchake, Surabhi Ingle, Kate Pavlovich, Mariah Bianchi, Kim Stanley, Meghan Sweis, Angela Berner, Sandy Stall, and Catherine Dunne.
This interdepartmental team of rockstar women who created and implemented UCSF Health’s Adult Services True North Scorecard in December 2021, the first organizational compendium of balanced KPIs to be fully automated, governed, and accessible via the self-service platform Tableau. The scorecard aligned 5+ disparate data sources with different granularity and classifications, saved 60+ hours a month in manual processing, and eliminated the static and overwhelming amount of information provided in previous versions, providing a one-stop shop for users across UCSF. The multi-skilled, multi-disciplined group used data governance best practices to standardize roles and responsibilities, definitions, and sources and also engaged leadership, stewards, and end users in both training and development to create an objective, collaborative, and comprehensive approach that ensured successful adoption.
April Baird, UCDH IT Client Services, Client Engineering Department, UC Davis Health
April has a lead role in managing the Imprivata and Duo two-factor authentication systems, saving the university over 80 years of time by not having people type passwords and by making computer security more manageable. These systems ensure the identity of the person while also providing a safe and efficient way to log into computers systems and applications using SSO. April’s work supports over 10,500 staff members and almost 10, 000 computers.
Anita Browning, Communication Specialist for Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, UC San Francisco
An innovative teammate, Anita leads the high-visibility public health campaign #ICOVIDQuit that launched March 2021. In addition to using print, traditional media, and OpEds to raise awareness of the health benefits of quitting smoking during the pandemic, she leveraged nontraditional resources such as the novel #ICOVIDQuit social media toolkit developed by Better World Advertising to amplify and share campaign assets broadly with peers, clinicians, and organizations. Anita’s website renovation and ownership also improved the branding to engage the campaign’s many stakeholders (i.e., funders, patients/clients, trainees, clinicians and providers, and policy makers, including advocates and state leadership). Through these and other projects, Anita has simultaneously boosted the team’s visibility, cultivated social media followers and trainees nationwide, and helped folks improve their behavioral health and wellness.
Adriene Hughes, Managing Producer/Director, Media Teaching Lab, UC San Diego
Adriene Hughes is an artist who supports other artists. She manages the ITS Media Teaching Lab (MTL), a large facility at UC San Diego dedicated to providing multimedia production facilities, equipment, and technical assistance to support the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. During the pandemic, Adriene recognized that while students were not allowed to attend in-person classes, faculty were still assigning their students projects that required her team’s equipment, workshops, and video/audio editing facilities. She devised a plan that kept students and her team safe, while also ensuring multimedia instruction could continue during campus lockdown. Adriene is dedicated to serving the university’s teaching and learning mission and also to supporting student artists during a time when loaning equipment might not have been on everyone’s mind.
UCSC Women Who Tech, UC Santa Cruz
Sue Harden, Assistant Outside Plant Engineer; Vanessa Gaspar, ResNet Supervisor; Angela Thalls, UX | Digital Media Specialist; Krishna Beck-Davis, Business Analyst; Rebecca Peet, System Analyst; Colleen Jennings, Digital Arts Technical Coordinator; Sophia Ciotti, Unix Systems Engineer; Kate Brownfield, Application Administrator; Sarah Do, Desktop Support Technician; Alex Rudzinski, Business Technical Support Analyst; Alexa Bolas, Business Technical Support Analyst; Oriana Gliessman, Facilities Analyst; Laurie Swan, Executive Assistant; Jocelyn Ferialdi, Cloud and On Premise Product Manager; Yendrick Porras, Administrative Specialist; Erika Simpkins, Business Systems Analyst; Diana Taylor, HR Systems Product Suite Manager; Prizm Turner, Business Technical Support Analyst; Cecilia Carrillo, Compliance/UISL Coordinator; Liz Wright, Security Incident Responder; Dana Conard, Instructional Technology Specialist; Corinne O’Connell, Business Systems Analyst.
This UCSC team of women has worked together to make significant contributions and impact towards instructional support, system migrations, enterprise application development and support, and managing COVID response logistics. The team prioritized clients’ needs while transitioning to a remote environment, and kept a laser focus on delivering exceptional support and user experience. All of these women demonstrated ingenuity and teamwork by creatively leveraging campus resources, and were aligned in delivering IT services working towards a common goal and calling upon their networks both within and outside of the university to problem solve and rapidly iterate on supporting the campus mission through a period of tremendous change and complexity.