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January 18, 2023 25 mins

Introduction

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

Linkedin 


Resources

Study Software Engineering 

American Slang Words You Need to Know


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