Abigail Jusiak (CS & Cogn Sci 2023) discovered her passion for tech during her first semester at CWRU, when she took a cognitive science class that “included content on AI and machine learning.” She found the course so inspirational and “fascinating” that she decided to put her foot in the door of technology and learn how to code.
“I enjoy the way that coding feels like solving a complex puzzle. Eventually, everything falls into place, and something actually happens because of code that you wrote. It’s really a cool feeling to create like that.”
Although Abigail enjoys the adventure of problem-solving and creativity that happens when she’s able to approach obstacles with new eyes, she thinks it requires a lot of patience and dedication to master coding. “…Not everything works perfectly right away. You need to have a lot of persistence to keep going when there are frustrating obstacles in your path,” she says.
When it comes to gender disparity in the tech field, Abigail thinks there is a reason why the most prevalent group in the tech space is made up of mostly males. She has noticed boys are persistently encouraged to be enthralled by science fiction and video games from a young age, while girls are pushed in a different direction. “It definitely has an influence on what careers men and women tend to pursue, and creates a much larger percentage of men in technology,” she says.
Abigail remembers she was not certain whether she belonged in the program because her male peers had more experience in the field. As she explains, her lack of expertise often made her feel out of place, to the point where she was reluctant to tell people about her major. “I didn’t want people to think that I didn’t belong in the program because I didn’t know as much as my male counterparts,” she says.
Abigail’s Thoughts on CWRU Women in Tech Initiative
Abigail believes CWRU WIT Professional Development Scholars Program gives her an opportunity to build a network of support with females in the industry while exploring some of the issues that matter to her.
“I’m glad to be connecting with other women in a similar situation and learning about their own struggles and experience as women in tech.”
She thinks the program will also help her feel more confident in her professional abilities and overcome feelings of self-doubt. “It is extremely validating to know that I’m not alone and that the things that I experience as a woman in tech are real,” she notes. She is looking forward to charting her career course forward and to learning more about what it means to be a woman in a predominantly male-dominated field.
"I am glad to be learning about how to conduct myself professionally and agreeably while still keeping my own worth and value in mind, as well."