UC Women Rock IT 2023

By The University of California Women in Technology Committee (UC WIT).

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are proud to showcase the outstanding contributions of women in IT across the UC system. The UC Women in Technology (UC WIT) representatives and their teams from every UC location nominated a woman for recognition. These 15 inspiring stories serve as a testament to the thousands of women who are driving and supporting the IT that underpins the UC mission.

Amy Pasko, Senior Data Engineer, Administrative & Residential Information Technology
(ARIT) Data Services Team, UC Santa Barbara

Amy Pasko led a year-long migration and modernization project involving 25 servers across five domains and 150 databases which were nearing end-of-life support. She did a masterful job of architecting and executing her plan, minimizing downtime for the ARIT Data Services Team customers, refactoring the legacy code and documenting everything in Confluence and runbooks. These servers are critical in populating data into the data warehouse and are responsible for data pipelines that integrate data into multiple systems across campus and
in the cloud. Pasko is also the founder of the campus-wide python users’ group, breaking down knowledge silos to support a coding paradigm shift, resulting in a stronger IT workforce and reduced software development and maintenance costs.

Andrea Lloyd, Senior Business Systems Analyst, UC Berkeley

Andrea Lloyd has transformed the UC Berkeley and higher ed community through her work with automated electronic forms. Over 70 paper forms have been replaced with ~25 eForms, saving the campus $1.5M+. She manages complex challenges with eForms in a timely manner; for example, in response to the recent United Auto Workers (UAW) labor action, Lloyd streamlined an existing eForm, saving advising and registrar staff over 500 hours of manual effort. Lloyd is building at least four new eForms this year, including one that will automate the process of checking the myriad of rules for graduate students requesting employment and funding exceptions. Lloyd has been a driving force in establishing an international eForm community of practice and consults with universities and other organizations around the world.

Barbara Hui, PhD, Software Developer, UC Office of the President

Dr. Barbara Hui has been a developer with the California Digital Library (CDL) at UCOP for the past 12 years, and her UC tenure spans 20 years. Hui’s work makes life easier for UC librarians and archivists. She has modernized complex digital archival systems utilizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technologies to achieve goals of security, performance, and high availability. She strives to create an environment where everyone’s voice is heard, and technical issues are communicated in a way that is accessible to all. She founded CDL’s version of UC Tech, a collaborative forum to exchange ideas across the department’s engineers, and she serves on the Asian and Pacific Islander Association (APISA) leadership team as treasurer. She is also actively involved in planning the UCOP APISA events for the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) Conference.

Bee Yang, Portfolio Manager, UC Davis

Bee Yang manages a large portfolio of IT projects (40+) in support of systemwide development of software in the areas of risk management and environmental health and safety. She supervises a diverse team of 11+ project managers and coordinators responsible for 11 agile development teams. The customers have conflicting priorities and high demands for solutions to address urgent business problems. Yang’s exceptional talent is demonstrated in her consistent and timely delivery of solutions that meet the clients’ needs. She is a great mentor and offers support to anyone who seeks her knowledge and wisdom. As if that was not enough, Yang managed to earn an MBA degree from UC Davis while working full time at Risk and Safety Solutions.

Dawn Roarty, Identity Management Team Manager and Identity and Access Management Program Manager, UC Davis Health

Dawn is a rock star in the IT industry! Her unparalleled talent for fostering relationships with internal and external colleagues propels her to succeed in all that she undertakes. In the past four years since she joined her department, she has established successful partnerships spanning multiple levels of the UC Davis Health organization, traversing UC campuses, and incorporating UC Office of the President to promote a shared vision, bringing recognition and value to her team’s work. Dawn continuously strives to create a more inclusive environment and works to shepherd diverse talent, including more women, into the Information Technology Identity field. Most recently, Dawn and her team have designed the launch and implementation of a multimillion-dollar Identity and Access Management (IAM) program supporting UCDH’s 30,000 user identities, which would not have been possible without her steadfast leadership, tireless efforts, and rock star-esque ability to cultivate relationships.

Leslie Kern, Learning and Instructional Tools Manager, IT Services, UC Santa Cruz

As the Learning and Instructional Tools Manager, Leslie led her team through a time of significant change and risk. She is an excellent steward of the Campus Learning Management System, Canvas, as well as other instructional tools, and has consistently focused on the needs of students and faculty by championing accessibility and equity. The impact of her work is significant as instructional tools are all core to the UC instructional mission. Leslie is truly committed to doing what is most beneficial for the members of the UCSC community, not what is easiest. She also currently serves as the vice chair of the systemwide Educational Technology Leadership Committee.

Natascha Trellinger Buswell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Teaching, UC Irvine

As one of the few female professors in her department, Dr. Natascha Trellinger Buswell’s presence in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department is a blessing in itself. Her academic focus is in engineering education, and the essence of her work is in enhancing the equity and inclusivity of diverse students, including women. She also runs a social media account that teaches about making engineering choices that are fair and bringing attention to the harmful impacts that tech and engineering can perpetuate to diverse users. Her students report that she is a caring instructor as well as a teacher that encourages students to think about engineering in a different way, which only her experience and expertise could foster.

Patricia Sanchez Jaques, Senior Technical Project Manager, UC Riverside

Despite having no prior experience in Identity and Access Management (IAM) or cybersecurity, Patricia has demonstrated exceptional leadership, dedication, and hard work as the project manager of a complex IAM infrastructure initiative. She has been effective in leading a diverse team of stakeholders and managing vendors. Her tenacity, keen listening and organizational skills have allowed her to identify hidden issues beyond the scope of the project, proving invaluable to project success. Her contributions to the IAM Riverside project are significant and appreciated. Patricia is a true asset to Information Technology Services (ITS) and UCR.

Raffaella D’Auria, PhD, Computational Scientist and Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCLA

Dr. Raffaella D’Auria is a computational scientist for the UCLA Office of Advanced Research Computing and assistant adjunct professor for the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, with expertise in computational chemistry and atmospheric sciences.  This past year, Raffaella successfully led a project to modernize the web portal for UCLA’s flagship high-performance compute cluster. As part of the implementation, Raffaella managed the collection, organization, and visualization of hundreds of technical documents, research publications, digital tools and training resources to make it easier for researchers to access innovative computational resources.  Her contributions continue to enable UCLA as a leading R1 research institution.

Sana SweisDirector of Analytics Strategy, UCSF

Sana Sweis has been an extraordinary technology leader at UCSF as the director of analytics strategy. Most recently, we went live with our Patient Capacity Management Center (PCMC), and as part of this she led a team of developers in building the actionable Radar dashboards to support improvement of throughput and capacity management. Her contributions to UCSF date back to before the COVID-19 pandemic but include technical leadership to build real-time data infrastructure to support our COVID-19 response and recovery and extend through the more recent development of novel metrics to measure and improve provider efficiency and satisfaction. She is one of the most brilliant technical leaders at UCSF and we are so lucky to have her.

Shermeen Vakharia, MD, Clinical Professor, UC Irvine

Dr. Shermeen Vakharia is instrumental in leading and providing mentorship for countless attending and resident anesthesiologists for one of the busiest university anesthesiology departments in California. She mentored Dr. Staci Sakai Becker in a years-long project to improve the communication and care pathways for patients with “difficult airways” and at risk for rapid deterioration, resulting in significant patient safety improvement. This work led to a national presentation and feedback from colleagues in anesthesia throughout the country. In addition to academic mentorships, Dr. Vakharia works tirelessly for the support and improvement of UCI Health’s patient care and efficiency alongside other role models, in the midst of a staffing crisis in the Anesthesiology department, and navigating the challenges of the pandemic.

Stephanie Labou, Data Science Librarian, UC San Diego

Stephanie Labou is a data evangelist! She organized the first UC San Diego Love Data Week in 2019 and conceptualized, initiated it, and spearheaded logistics and organization for the UC-wide Love Data Week in February 2023. Labou empowers learners through the Software and Data Carpentry training series to help to get learners (often graduate students) over the initial coding hurdles. While participants do not learn everything there is to know about coding in the workshop, her goal is that they walk away feeling qualified to start tackling research automation tasks. Her enthusiasm and assistance are instrumental in breaking down the “gatekeeping” that can often happen in the field: she allows anyone who is interested in participating at any level; – from dabbling or becoming an expert – to have a role.

Stephanie Larson, Application Analyst, Act, Support and Protect (ASAP), UCLA Health

Populations are living longer than ever before, and, in the US, it is estimated that 10,000 Baby Boomers are currently turning 65 every day. This demographic shift brings challenges to healthcare systems as older adults visit emergency departments at comparatively higher rates than non-seniors. For the past three years, Stephanie Larson has worked with UCLA’s clinical leaders to design specialized screenings and assessments within the electronic health record. The tools that Stephanie has meticulously created support clinicians in quickly identifying high risk seniors presenting with needs, dispositions, and outcomes that are quite specific to them. Larson’s thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and patience over the last three years helped UCLA’s Emergency Department achieve a Level 1 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation.

Taura Kelso, ServiceNow Team Project Manager / Information Services Business Systems Analyst, UC San Diego Health

After undergoing leadership and membership changes this past year, Taura Kelso has been instrumental in the revival and support of our Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) steering committee. Taura has helped keep efforts aligned with enterprise initiatives, by actively working with leadership to ensure key efforts are brought to the attention of committee members, as well as coordinating efforts with key stakeholders. In the past year, with our ServiceNow team realizing changes in membership and leadership, Taura has been the constant, helping support new members, and guiding the team through task prioritization. Taura has proven to be a great asset for the Service Management department!

Dr. Yue Yu, PhD, Sr. Research Computing Facilitator, UC Merced

Dr. Yue Yu, the Senior Research Computing Facilitator at UC Merced, has made significant contributions to reducing barriers and creating a more inclusive environment for researchers in the field of research computing. Her efforts have enabled students new to command line and Unix shell to become proficient in using Linux-based High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters. Her weekly HPC office hours and workshops have built a community of HPC users, and her research computing support directly impacts faculty research groups’ ability to do computational research. In addition to her technical expertise, Yue Yu’s outreach and training efforts have created a more inclusive computational research environment for UC Merced researchers. Her work serves as an example for other institutions to follow.

About the UC Women in Technology (UC WIT) Committee

The University of California Women in Technology Committee (UC WIT) Committee promotes a supportive, inclusive environment to advance the professional goals and aspirations of UC women in technology. Click here to learn more about UC Women in Technology (UC WIT) Committee

A big thank you to the UC Women in Tech (UC WIT) leadership team for your time. Allison Flick, Carolina Manel Romero, and Regina Castleman – these three remarkable women leaders have been a cornerstone of our UC Women in Tech Leadership Team, and their contributions are deeply appreciated.

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