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Four Zicklin Women Win Scholarships to Attend Prestigious Computing Conference

December 2, 2022

Four Zicklin School undergraduate women — Emily Rodriguez Cabrera (BBA, ’23), Audite Talukder (BBA, ’23), Kamilah Torres (BBA, ’23), and Aruna Yessenzhanova (BBA, ’23) — received scholarships to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in Florida in September. The scholarships were awarded by, a California nonprofit founded to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology.   

Emily Rodriguez Cabrera (BBA, ’23), Audite Talukder (BBA, ’23), Kamilah Torres (BBA, ’23), and Aruna Yessenzhanova (BBA, ’23); Zicklin School of business students; Grace Hopper Celebration conference; computing conference

Clockwise from upper left: Cabrera, Talukder, Yessenzhanova, Torres

Named for Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a naval officer and computer pioneer, the Grace Hopper Celebration “is the premier conference on women in computing,” said Marios Koufaris, chair of the Paul H. Chook Department of Information Systems and Statistics. Held September 20-23 in Orlando, FL, the conference featured several prominent speakers, including Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, law professor Anita Hill, and soccer star Megan Rapinoe.   

The scholarships enabled students to attend in person or virtually, but most of the Zicklin students chose to attend virtually because of their schedules and the additional financial commitment of airfare.   

Emily Rodriguez Cabrera, a computer information systems (CIS) major, said she decided to apply for the scholarship after learning about it on TikTok. “I didn’t expect to hear back, so it was really exciting when I found out I’d won and that there was a virtual option,” she said. She appreciated that the conference design included a Slack channel and other ways to facilitate social interaction. “It didn’t feel like us virtual folks were an afterthought in the planning process.”   

Audite Talukder, also a CIS major, said her favorite thing about the conference was “that it is a space for women.” She added, “It was amazing to network and connect with other women. By the end, I knew the next generation of world leaders and pioneers was right here.”  

Emily also enjoyed the smaller workshops, where it was easier to interact than in the larger virtual meetings. About an information session on civic technology, “It was eye-opening to see how many opportunities there are in this field,” she offered. “Tech platforms as used by government and nonprofit organizations aren’t a big part of the discussion around working in tech.”   

After graduation next year, Emily plans to work for EY as a technology consultant, a position she landed thanks to a summer internship. Meanwhile, she’s involved in various activities on campus, serving as an orientation leader for T.E.A.M. Baruch and an advisor to the Baruch Collegiate Association of Women in Business. 

Audite, for her part, is considering pursuing a tech-related master’s degree, but for now plans to continue exploring different careers related to cybersecurity: “I hope to find a role I feel confident to specialize in.”