College of Computing Speaker Series Presents "Women in Tech: Thriving in Tech Careers, Advocating for Advancement, and Navigating Non-Tech Roles in Tech Spaces"




Online event

Join Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Computing on Friday, March 17, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. for an online panel discussion: Women in Tech: Thriving in Tech Careers, Advocating for Advancement, and Navigating Non-Tech Roles in Tech Spaces.

The following topics will be discussed: 

  • Thriving as a woman in tech 
  • Leveraging personal power  
  • Non-traditional tech and non-tech leadership roles 
  • Insight for pursuing careers in tech
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Career advancement and self-advocacy

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Allecia Harley

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Prevention Advisory Group

Allecia Harley is a nonprofit consultant, strategist, trainer, and facilitator on leadership and growth. She’s also the founder and CEO of Prevention Advisory Group. Harley has more than 20 years of organizational consulting and public health experience distilled into instantly applicable strategies, behaviors, and skills to lead through change. She honed her approach while actively running her company, serving on nonprofit boards, and being an executive coach. Harley has advised nonprofit, academic, and public health organizations on how to prepare for, and lead through, a constantly changing landscape. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of science degree from Spelman College. She lives in Chicago with her husband, teenage son, and their dog, Cassius Clay, a boxer.


Nichole Pinkard                                                                                                                         

Alice Hamilton Professor of Education and the Social Policy Faculty Director of the Office of Community Education Partnerships, Northwestern University

Nichole Pinkard is the Alice Hamilton Professor of Education and the social policy and faculty director of the Office of Community Education Partnerships at Northwestern University. She is also the founder of Digital Youth Network and Cities Learn, a social learning platform that connects youth learning opportunities across the school, home, community, and beyond. Through collaborations with city agencies such as YOUmedia with the Chicago Public Library, City of Learning with former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and My Chi, My Future with current Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Pinkard and DYN’s work has ignited new models for reimagining, visualizing, and documenting learning across spaces through the creation of existence proofs in urban contexts. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, and an National Science Foundation Early CAREER Fellowship. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern. Her current scholarly interests include the design and use of socio-technical systems to support communities in designing healthy and joyful learning opportunities that support families to integrate STEAM into their learning and leisure lifestyles.

Erika C. Burt

Director of Professional and Academic Programs-College of Computing, Illinois Institute of Technology

Erika C. Burt has more than 20 years of educational leadership and organizational change experience that is steeped in strategic planning, academic planning, staff and faculty development, large-scale STEM project creation for underrepresented populations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting. Burt currently leads efforts to strengthen and increase undergraduate and graduate academic programming to ensure and expand student support via the creation of student-centered, computing-focused initiatives and to bolster strategic partnerships for Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Computing. In previous roles, Burt spearheaded the implementation of cybersecurity labs and computer science boot camps for community colleges, developed technology-focused continuing education programs, led multimillion-dollar computer science research projects for English learners, led nonprofit teams toward securing grant funds for computer science teacher professional development initiatives, and managed undergraduate, college-wide career and technical education plans. Burt served on the Board of Directors for TecHive NFP, Inc. and is a higher education adviser for the Computer Science Teachers Association. She is also a member of the South Side Cluster Leadership Team for the Illinois Poor People’s Campaign. Burt holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in English education from Chicago State University, and a Master of Divinity and Justice from North Park Theological Seminary. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate with research interests in higher educational leadership, educational equity and access in STEM, and educational policy.


Kimberly D. Brown

Senior Program Manager, Microsoft

Kimberly D. Brown is a senior program manager in the Health and Life Science Division at Microsoft, where she assists health care organizations with digitally transforming their businesses. Professionally, Brown started in the telecommunication industry and worked at companies such as AT&T, NCR, and Lucent Technologies. In 2003 Brown decided to shift her career focus to the health care industry, where she felt that she could be of service to people in need. She was hired at McKesson as an implementation consultant for nursing systems and from there held various positions at McKesson, including team lead and enterprise scheduling manager. Brown continued to deepen her health care experience with various positions at health care vendors including MEDHOST, MedAvail, and GE. She has done everything from being the project manager on a hospital-wide implantation of financial and clinical software, to managing projects for implementing cardiology software—and she even planned a grand opening event for an automated pharmacy kiosk. Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in telecommunications from Illinois Institute of Technology. She also holds a certificate in health care administration from the University of Maryland University College and a certificate in pharmacoepidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Brown is also a certified project management profession with the Project Management Institute.

April Welch

Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Director of Esports and the Digital Arts Center, and Director of the Exelon Summer Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology

April Welch is the associate vice president for strategic initiatives, the director of the Esports and Digital Arts Center, and the director of the Exelon Summer Institute at Illinois Institute of Technology. Welch’s work provides students with amazing opportunities to try new things and find their passion through the Elevate program and a variety of esports and gaming initiatives. Welch also founded the Idea Shop, a collaborative learning space equipped with a rapid prototyping lab designed to facilitate teamwork and innovation. Additionally, Welch has been afforded many opportunities to share about esports and gaming though a variety of platforms. She has been an esports and gaming presenter and panelist for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), IdeaCon sponsored by the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance, and the Illinois Math and Science Academy game development camp for high school students. Welch has also provided esports talks for Chicago’s ABC 7 News, the Academy of Esports by James O’Hagan, Depth and Light by J. D. Pritle, and Chicago radio station WVON. She currently is working on realizing the Bronzeville Opportunity Engine which will include "approximately 16,000 square feet of renovated space dedicated to community workforce development, small business and entrepreneurship education, startup incubation, and pre-collegiate programming. Welch received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University’s School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Loyola University Chicago. Welch also has a Master of Arts in Professional Studies from DePaul University and a Master of Science in Technical Communication and Information Design from the Illinois Tech. Currently, Welch is a Ph.D. candidate at Illinois Tech pursuing a culminating degree in technical communications.

Armanda D. Killingham

Senior IT Systems Analyst, Exelon

Armanda D. Killingham is a senior information technology systems analyst for Exelon and an experienced IT professional who enjoys “all things architecture.” Killingham specializes in software development and design, software architecture, and enterprise architecture and governance to strategically position IT to support and align with the business practices. Killingham’s 30-plus year career in IT has included numerous roles (developer, analyst, webmaster, solutions architect), companies (Constellation Energy, Abbott Laboratories, Lucent Technologies), and industries (energy, health care, consumer goods, telecom), which has afforded her a broad knowledge of IT. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer information systems from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in computer science from DePaul University. Killingham is a member of the Evanston YWCA Women in Technology Council, a Board of Director member for the Rotary Club of Social Equity and Impact, and she is the founder and president of the Dorcas Community Outreach Foundation.

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