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January 18, 2023 25 min


Jessie Gentles is the 3%. The world of IT has thrived as a highly-lucrative, high-growth industry — but the caveat? You’re not going to find many Black women crowding in to become the next IT specialist. As a Jamaican-born woman and software engineering student at Miami University, Jessie represents a demographic that’s shied away from IT — one that’s representing only 3% of the IT space, but she’s not alone. Black Wings is a small, but growing community that supports underrepresented women in IT. Change is on the horizon.

Episode Summary 

  • 02:42 - Simon shares the meaning behind Jessie’s last name, Gentles. 
  • 03:14 - Jessie shares her educational background and how it was inspired by a desire to explore the world.  
  • 04:52 - How did Jessie adapt to the culture shock of moving to the U.S.? 
  • 05:53 - Jessie questions how her life would’ve been different if she’d chosen to stay in Jamaica. 
  • 06:46 - What has Jessie’s experience been like as a black woman in STEM at Miami University
  • 08:09 - Jessie compares the accessibility to technology in the U.S. vs. in Jamaica. 
  • 09:09 - How have organizations like “Black Wing” and “Rewriting the Code” aided women like Jessie in their academic careers? 
  • 10:27 - How did Jessie first get involved with the Black Wings organization, and how has it impacted her? 
  • 12:11 - Historically, why might black women have been underrepresented in the STEM field? 
  • 12:56 - Jessie speaks on the impact that mentorships and internships can have on the next generation. 
  • 14:49 - As part of the “Hackathon Committee,” Jessie shares what this exciting event is all about. 
  • 16:18 - With her background in software engineering, does Jessie have any ambitions to start a company of her own?
  • 17:27 - There are numerous ways to network with others — Jessie shares some of her favorites.
  • 18:37 - Which professors have been influential in Jessie’s journey? 
  • 19:47 - Jessie shares what it’s been like navigating through American slang, holidays, and new traditions. 
  • 23:24 - Jessie shares some final words for students considering a study abroad. 

  • Links 

    Miami University

    Salem Academy 

    Status of Women in IT

    Rewriting the Code

    Black Wings

    Hackathon 2022 

    Guest Information



    Study Software Engineering 

    American Slang Words You Need to Know

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