CEHC Hosts International Women’s Day Celebration

CEHC's Jennifer Goodall helps Women in Technology freshman seminar class assemble projects at ETEC.
CEHC Vice Dean Jennifer Goodall's Women in Technology freshman seminar class assemble projects at ETEC. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 21, 2023) — In the spirit of Women’s History Month, the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) is gearing up to host a series of events on Monday, March 27, that celebrate diversity in the workplace.

CEHC’s International Women’s Day Celebration, organized by Vice Dean Jennifer Goodall, will offer opportunities for students, faculty, staff and local professionals to hear from women leaders, network and participate in hands-on activities.

The celebration, which will take place at the ETEC research and development complex, is free and open to the public.

“Although there has been meaningful progress toward gender equality, women are still underrepresented in the workplace,” said Goodall. “This celebration is about getting the conversation going and offering professional development opportunities for students. We all have an important role to play in fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment, especially in STEM fields.”

Celebrating Women Leaders

Semirah Dolan, a cloud engineer and diversity ambassador, will be kicking off next Monday’s celebration. Dolan has extensive experience delivering digital technology solutions, products and services to companies at the forefront of digital transformation. She’s also a sought-after speaker, featured at tech-focused conferences globally. 

Headshot of Semirah Dolan.
Semirah Dolan, cloud engineer and diversity ambassador.

Dolan will lead a closed workshop for CEHC faculty, followed by an open-to-all discussion about her journey in tech from 2:15 to 3 p.m. in ETEC room 149/151.

After the discussion, attendees are invited to a networking event in the ETEC lobby from 3 to 4 p.m., followed by another speaking event with Lianne Dalziel, the former mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in ETEC room 149/151. Dalziel will focus on the importance of empathetic leadership in times of crisis. 

Headshot of Lianne Dalziel.
Lianne Dalziel, former mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand.

"Our featured speakers offer a diverse background in technology and leadership,” said Carol Anne Germain, an associate teaching professor at CEHC, who is helping coordinate the celebration. “We hope that these discussions, along with the rest of the day’s events, will inspire the UAlbany community and open new conversations about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

"This celebration is a great opportunity for students to practice their networking skills, meet with working professionals and prepare themselves for future careers,” added Erin Couture, CEHC’s assistant director of applied learning, who is coordinating the network event. “During the networking event, students will be able to meet with our CEHC community and external partners, all in the spirit of International Women’s Day.”

The day will conclude with an open house at the CEHC makerspace in the ETEC basement, featuring hands-on activities, “make and take” items and board games created by women designers and developers.

"This event offers our campus community with a valuable opportunity to celebrate and embrace equity,” said Michael Leczinsky, a CEHC professor of practice, who is hosting the makerspace open house. “We are inviting students to conclude the full day of programming with a variety of hands-on activities in a collaborative and social environment.”

Women in the Workplace

The International Women’s Day Celebration adds to several events hosted by CEHC’s Goodall that focus on closing the gender gap in the workplace.

In 2018, she brought “State of Grace” to campus, a three-day conference hosted in the fall semester, which celebrates women in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. She also serves as the conference chair for the annual New York Celebration of Women in Computing that is next scheduled for April 14-15 in Lake George at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center. 

Student sit around a table during a design challenge as part of CEHC's State of Grace event.
UAlbany students take part in a design challenge with programmers from Vicarious Visions, a video game developer based in Menands, as part of CEHC’s State of Grace event. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

“I’ve been focused on this issue for a long time and the numbers have not changed much,” Goodall said. “On one hand, I get sad thinking about it. But, on the other hand, it makes me realize how much work can still be done. I remind my students all the time that they are the ones who can make the change for future generations.”

CEHC’s International Women’s Day Celebration is co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and supported in-part through University Auxiliary Services and a 2023 Diversity Transformation Award, which offers UAlbany faculty, staff and graduate students support for innovative events, programs or research initiatives that promote diversity and foster inclusiveness.

You can read more about Goodall’s passion for encouraging women to pursue STEM careers through our “5 Questions with Faculty” profile.