UC Women Rock IT: Achievements during the Pandemic

Jessica Mentesoglu Powell at UCLA's CLICC Pickup

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the UC Women in Technology Committee presents a visual timeline of UC women working in IT who have contributed to helping the university address the pandemic. They may work in education technology, IT security, enterprise software development, health IT, and many other fields. Click on the timeline below to read their stories, or skip to a text-only version in list format. The women featured were nominated by their supervisors or colleagues, and represent a small sampling of the amazing women who make IT solutions happen across UC.

Text-Only version of UC Women Rock IT: Achievements during the Pandemic

  • February to April 2020
    • Suzie Kirrane, Campus Life Services Technology Team, UCSF. Suzie led the effort to roll out a virtual Accepted Students Weekend in the UCSF mobile app, bringing the traditionally in-person event to life for 140 accepted students. The virtual weekend exceeded expectations with a 39% increase in attendance over the average in-person event. It included an interactive activity schedule, virtual housing tours, and a Student Activities Fair with videos from campus organizations. The app included heartfelt student stories, a student-created music video, information on physical and mental health services for med students, and ideas on getting involved. Modo Labs Customer Story About UCSF Mobile App
  • March to July 2020
    • Gladys Odoye and Jen Bellenger, Zoom Team, UC Berkeley. Jenn and Gladys scaled up Zoom, almost overnight. Full-featured Zoom video conferencing accounts were provided to faculty, staff, and registered students with no direct charge. They also launched a new Zoom landing page to improve user experience. The Zoom team supported a 2,274% increase in licensed accounts for Zoom (from 2,527 on March 5 to 57,465 on Nov. 2). By Oct., 17,164 meetings were held on average each week day, with 122,215 total participants on Zoom.
    • Shelly Toole, OIT Facilities, UC Irvine. Shelly provided tremendous ongoing support for the Student Equipment Loan program, including transferring equipment, distributing laptops and hotspots to students in a challenging distance environment (including in the rain!), and providing shipping and receiving support. She repeatedly and proactively volunteered to take on essential tasks that ultimately enabled the program to provide nearly 900 pieces of computer equipment to students in need, supporting the urgent transition to remote learning.
  • March 2020 to present:
    • Ivy Tillich, UC Davis. Having been a student assistant, Ivy’s new role as a full-time staff member in desktop support coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the almost overnight shift to remote instruction and work. Ivy has been a front-line hero, volunteering to work on-site to handle the support that can’t be handled remotely. She worked on many requests, cheerily saying “assign it to me!” The team was successful in handling the skyrocketing number of tickets, largely due to Ivy’s commitment to helping users.
    • Julie Carson, IT Applications (DSG), UC Davis Health. Serving on the COVID response team for UC Davis Health, Julie was instrumental in configuring and deploying the first instruments to start COVID testing at UCD. This included helping to deploy and configure the DX7500, Roches C6800, and Two Genmark Analyzers. Setting up these instruments can take anywhere from one to six months each. She and the clinical lab specialist set them up in 14 days for operational testing. This allowed UCD Health to start processing up to 1200 COVID tests a day. She continued to deploy COVID testing equipment throughout the year, including new rapid testing.
    • Lindsey Spiegelman, Department of Emergency Medicine, UC Irvine Health. Lindsey used her clinical informatics expertise to tackle the immense clinical challenges created by the pandemic. She played a key role in ambulatory video visit implementation via Zoom that helped launch UCI’s Telehealth Initiative 4 months ahead of schedule to 160 clinics. Lindsey was also the Emergency Department lead for implementation of a Zoom-based consultant workflow, helping to decrease PPE usage and COVID exposure while expediting patient disposition and throughput. Recently, she helped develop a workflow for remote monitoring of COVID patients who would otherwise have required inpatient hospitalization.
    • Sarvani Chadalapaka, High Performance Computing, UC Merced. Sarvani orchestrated the move of the campuswide computational cluster MERCED into a new facility, ensuring there is redundant power and cooling for robust and continuous provision of computational services to over 600 computational campus researchers.A leaky UPS battery nearly shut down the move, but Sarvani coordinated the remediation between movers, IT, campus police, and the fire department, directing a diverse team of partners through a flawless execution and outcome.
    • Loan2Learn team, UC Riverside. Emily Gordon, Alex Chrystal, Michelle Ybarra. UC Riverside had to move all instruction online last year. However, many students lacked the resources needed to be able to adapt to this mode of learning. As strong advocates for students, Emily, Alex, and Michelle created and launched the UCR Loan2Learn program in less than three weeks. Any student who does not have off-campus access to the Internet or to a device that supports remote learning—such as a laptop, desktop, or tablet—may apply. Loan2Learn
    • Jennifer Holland, Enterprise Reporting, UC San Diego Health. Jennifer provided analytics leadership to rapidly develop critical COVID-19 dashboards to support UC San Diego operations. Her dashboards provide executive-level KPIs, such as infection rates, testing statistics, and vaccine administration, which are shared with the entire health science organization. The dashboard data and delivery system is highly dependable and supports organization-wide distribution. Jennifer’s efforts have ensured the enterprise analytics pipeline is stable and ready to deliver critical dashboards to leadership. How COVID-19 dashboard is fueling engagement across UCSD Health.
    • Marlene Millen, MD, Health Science, UC San Diego Health. Marlene has led multiple COVID-19 related efforts. In Spring 2020, she helped stand up an ambulatory COVID response team, which followed COVID-positive patients and assisted them with at-home care and monitoring. She developed key electronic health records-based tools for triaging patient concerns and instructing patients on home isolation, and led a telehealth implementation project. Last fall, she worked with Student Health to develop testing protocols to allow students to return to campus. Recently, she was instrumental in standing up the mass vaccination site at Petco Park, the most productive vaccination site in the county. Rapid Response to COVID-19: Health Informatics Support for Outbreak Management in an Academic Health System
    • Chantilly Apollon, Technology Enhanced Education (TEE), UCSF. Chantilly helped empower medical education staff, students, and faculty through several significant technology initiatives during the COVID pandemic Early on, she designed a survey tool to gather feedback on how students were impacted by remote learning. She helped leverage existing recorded lectures in a new way in Mediasite, adding interactive quizzing, editing lectures to be delivered asynchronously, and enabling students to track their progress through the series of 19 lectures. The enhanced lecture recordings launched in early 2020, allowing for an easier pivot during the pandemic.
    • Lisa Gardner, ITS, UCSC. Lisa conducted security assessments to quickly stand up the COVID Testing Lab that serves the UCSC campus and Santa Cruz community. The assessments ensured that the appropriate controls were implemented to protect patient privacy.
    • Lisa Bono, ITS, UCSC. Lisa played a critical role in communicating effectively through an enormously trying year, which included a rapid transition to remote work, teaching, and learning; and an evacuation of campus due to wildfires—all in the midst of ongoing organizational changes. She coordinated all of the remote resources information for the Keep Learning, Keep Teaching, and employee Keep Working websites.
    • Daniella Lowenberg, California Digital Library, UCOP. In 2019, Daniella led the re-launch of a global, open data publishing platform, Dryad, onto UC built open-source technology. Dryad is a free service for UC researchers to publish, share, and archive data. When the pandemic struck, UC scientists urgently needed a way to publish and share data, including COVID-19 research. Hundreds of UC researchers at all campuses have been archiving and publishing their datasets in Dryad, which have been accessed by researchers across the world. Daniella is raising awareness about the repository through researcher education at the campuses, in federal conversations, and globally in discussions about ensuring access to data in times of crisis. Drayd website
    • Jessica Mentesoglu and Lisa Kemp Jones, Digital Initiatives and IT Operations and IT Services, UCLA. Jessica led the UCLA Library effort to leverage an existing loaner laptop program into a work-from-home equipment lending program for the entire campus community (students, faculty, and staff). They added 1,000 laptops and tablets and over 800 MiFi devices to the existing pool. Jessica worked with Lisa Kemp Jones in IT Services to purchase, receive, tag, and move equipment to where it could be picked up or shipped.
  • March to September 2020
    • Remote Learning Transition Team, UCSB. Mindy Colin, Lisa Berry, Linda Adler-Kassner, Margarita Safronova, Elina Salminen, Anita Stahl. This team orchestrated the successful transition to remote learning in Spring 2020. They created the “Keep Teaching” website and the RISE (Reimagining Instruction for the Student Experience) Institute, which provided faculty members with resources and software to offer robust online learning options and also helped them learn to use the tools and reconfigure their courses. Because of this initiative, UCSB was able to accommodate a record 34% jump in enrollments from Summer 2019 to Summer 2020, which would never have been possible if limited by traditional classroom space. UCSB Keep Teaching, Rising Up
  • March to August 2020
    • Lillian Hawasli and Amy Zhao, Humanities Technology, UCLA. Lillian led a team of three student programmers, including Amy, to update a plugin for Google Sheets called Question Bank Quiz Builder (QB2). It dramatically simplifies building quizzes/tests and question banks in Moodle, the UCLA LMS. Their work made it much easier for UCLA instructors to shift quickly and efficiently to online assessments without having to master more than content entry into a spreadsheet. Available to anyone free on the Google Store, QB2 has over 30,000 downloads! Question Bank Quick Builder, Google Store
  • Spring to Fall 2020
    • Digital Technology, UCLA Health IT. Ashley Bell, Anita Bilan, Kristen Lineberger, Katherine Wigan. This group of women in DGIT’s Administration and Educational Technology teams supported the School of Medicine during the pandemic. They contributed to the school’s first virtual commencement ceremony, collaborated with the Dean’s Office to provide ongoing COVID-19 communications, and launched the new UCLA Health Bound website to recruit top-tier prospective undergraduate and graduate medical students. They also developed new workflows that allowed students to complete the National Board of Medical Examiners exams online instead of in person. UCLA Health Bound, UCLA Coronavirus Information
  • March 20th to October 28th, 2020
    • Student Software Catalog Team, UC Riverside. Joy Hu, Olivia Lara, Tami Friedrich, Sumita Roy-Chowdhury, Michelle Ybarra, Emily Gordon, Alex Chrystal, Kim King, Sharon Kidwell, Rebecca Hutchins, Dalia Fadel. The team built a self-service software catalog that empowered UCR students by providing them with a 24/7 platform to access and download their software entitlements. In addition, it improved operational efficiency, leading to a substantial reduction in the number of support calls and software request tickets to the helpdesk, and reducing the time to track available and expired entitlements. This powerful reporting engine also enables monitor software usage monitoring and enables management to make informed software procurement decisions. New Student Software Catalog
  • May to October 2020
    • Resnet and Datacom Teams, UC San Diego. Malerie Samadi, Brenda Gross, Taylor Lyle. UC San Diego’s Return to Learn program required stable and strong WiFi in the students’ dorm rooms. To provide it, the Student Residential Wireless Upgrades team completed four summers’ worth of WiFi upgrades in a three-month period, finishing the multi-million dollar project on time and under budget. It required tight coordination with campus Datacom and Resnet, the physical network that provides wireless network connections for undergraduate students in on-campus housing. Students would not have been able to take classes from their residences without the team’s work.
  • May to July 2020
    • COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Clinics, UCSB. Holly Smith, Betsy Malear, Dr. Laura Polito, Katie Mankins, Carolina Arias Gonzalez, Carly Witt, Kelly Walsh, Francesa Zappa, Sabrina Solley, Morgan Oudouard, Jennifer Rauch. A UCSB research team conducted a surveillance study to search for signs of the novel coronavirus in volunteers who had no symptoms of COVID-19. The results indicated that people who never feel sick could unknowingly transmit the virus to others as they circulate in the community. The Student Health team supported the researchers by setting up testing clinics to collect samples from volunteers, gathering demographic data for the study, and getting informed consent forms signed by the volunteers, all while operating safely and efficiently. These clinic processes and practices established the foundation for the fall quarter surveillance testing program and demonstrated the scale of testing capacity on campus. Silent Spread
  • May 2020 to present
    • Judy White, Business Intelligence and Analytics, UC San Diego. Judy was the technical lead in the effort to allow students and staff to safely return to campus during the pandemic. She orchestrated the build-out of data hubs that allowed messaging to students about COVID testing compliance. She also helped set up an analytic environment that supports the development of dashboards showing how positive cases were affecting certain geographic parts or demographic populations throughout the campus. This allowed leadership to make strategic operational decisions on where to focus remediation efforts. UC San Diego COVID-19 Daily Dashboard
    • Erika Hom, Undergraduate Admissions System (UAS), UCOP. As schools around the world turned to remote learning during the pandemic, Erika was one of four developers who made significant code changes to ApplyUC, UC’s undergraduate admission application for high school and transfer students. One change involved updating the system to accept different grades as schools increasingly issued “pass/fail” instead of letter grades. The system also had to be updated so that standardized test scores were optional instead of mandatory. Erika focused on updating the logic that determines a student’s UC eligibility based on completion of the required courses and any submitted information about standardized tests – two components that COVID-19 drastically altered for many students.
  • July 2020 to present
    • Members from Academic and Emerging Technologies and Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, UC Merced. Joan Holmquist, Cathy Pohan, Jacqueline Shay, Sushma Jolly, Jennifer Howez-Owens, Rachel Peters, Nicole Alvernaz. The UC Merced campus needed to transition face-to-face courses to remote/online teaching during COVID-19. To meet this challenge, a diverse team with 7 women from Academic and Emerging Technologies (AET) and the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL) collaborated and swiftly switched gears to design programs and resources for UC Merced faculty and teaching assistants. These focused on utilizing remote teaching pedagogies, instructional design and instructional technology, utilizing Zoom, lecture-capture platform, Canvas (Learning Management System), Respondus, etc. The team assisted led workshops and 1-1 consultations with over 300 faculty and 130+ graduate in a few short months.
  • August 2020 to present
    • Chara Bui, Berkeley Mobile App, UC Berkeley. Chara and her team of student developers keep the UC Berkeley mobile (the Bk app) updated to support a safe and healthy return to campus for students and employees. Now working on launching the fourth major update, the team has delivered significant new enhancements to make the app more responsive to changing conditions as the campus responds to the pandemic. Berkeley Mobile App
    • Kristie Sallee, Offices of the Chancellor and Provost, UC Davis. Kristie develops applications for a number of departments that hundreds of staff, faculty, and students use. She is always available to provide ongoing technical support to clients. Since the pandemic, Kristie serves as a mentor to junior developers. She hosts weekly mentoring sessions to assist with technical questions and share professional insights.
  • September 2020 to present
    • Kathleen Quan, Patient Safety and Quality, Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, UC Irvine Health. Kathleen is the clinical informaticist for the COVID-19 Vaccination Module in the UCI Health Occupational Health Database (OHDB). This module manages criteria-based invitations, schedules appointments for events, and documents consent/administration of vaccine. To date, over 40,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered to 10,000 healthcare personnel and 18,000 patients. Kathleen and her team ensured the timely and organized release of COVID-19 vaccinations, often doing back-end work manually to meet critical time-sensitive deadlines for vaccine delivery.
  • September 2020 to February 2021
    • Nicole May, Information Services, UC San Diego Health. Nicole demonstrated outstanding leadership in bringing the CA Notify Exposure Notification System to California. As the principal project manager, Nicole led the successful launch of the CA Notify pilot program at the UC San Diego campus. With the success of the pilot, she led the expansion of CA Notify to UC campuses statewide. Her work demonstrated to the state that the technology could be implemented across California. Recognizing the value of having Nicole and her team continue to lead the project, the state partnered with UC San Diego Health to provide continued technology support for CA Notify. Pilot Smartphone Technology to Help Limit Spread of COVID-19, COVID Notify System Goes Statewide
  • December 2020 to present
    • Melony L. Salatich, Employee Health Services, UC Davis Health. As one of the first sites in California to receive the COVID vaccination, UC Davis Health needed to support the employee vaccination clinic. A lot of build was required to receive the vaccine. One challenge was to capture the race and ethnicity for the CDC and other regulatory requirements. Melony wrote a script that takes the data captured from one system and converts it into a cross walk to be able to update and send data to the reporting agencies. She works on the data normalization on a daily basis, making sure all the data captured is accurate. As a result, UCD Health reports accurately and quickly on the detailed ethnicity of vaccine records.
  • December 2020
    • Information Services and Solutions, Ambulatory Applications, UCLA Health IT. Amanda Lee, April Taylor, Diana Ty, Heather Sharma, Laxmi Kumar, Ollie Winn, Rusti Moufarrej, Sharry Monteagudo, Tina Adzhiyan. Diana played an essential role in UCLA Health IT’s disaster recovery and service delivery efforts during the pandemic. She helped guide a team of analysts and stakeholders in developing the foundation of the vaccine workflow that UCLA Health is using today. Also, when the COVID-19 vaccine was being rolled out to frontline healthcare workers, Diana led a team of IT professionals to ensure that employees at UCLA Health would get the vaccine in the most efficient way possible. Diana’s team was composed of application analysts Amanda Lee, April Taylor, Heather Sharma, Laxmi Kumar, Ollie Winn, Rusti Moufarrej, Sharry Monteagudo, and Tina Adzhiyan.
  • January 13th to 15th, 2021
    • Stacey Rose, Network Projects and Infrastructure Engineers, UC Irvine. Stacey assisted in the implementation of a full COVID-19 vaccine eco-system infrastructure within 48 hours. A network manager with UCI’s Office of Information Technology, Stacey helped coordinate the network engineering and field tech teams to do site surveys, pull cable, set up telephones, install network switches and wireless access points. She worked with several departments on campus to ensure access to medical applications to administer vaccines. After this initial setup, an entire UCI team worked all weekend to make sure there were not any issues and they continue to monitor the site.

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