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5 Questions with Faculty: Jennifer Goodall

CEHC Vice Dean Jennifer Goodall has spent more than 20 years on campus as a student and faculty member. (Photo by Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 1, 2019) – Jennifer Goodall has spent more than 20 years on campus encouraging women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM).

Since earning her Ph.D. in Information Science from UAlbany in 2001, Goodall has held number a number of positions at the University, including assistant dean of the Department of Informatics and now vice dean of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC).

She’s passionate about growing the number of women in technology fields, serving as a consultant for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and locally, leading various events geared toward promoting diversity in STEAM.

This week, CEHC, through Goodall’s leadership, is sponsoring the second annual “State of Grace”  on campus. Named after computer programmer and inventor Grace Brewster Murray Hopper, UAlbany’s spinoff of the national “Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing” offers students with opportunities to polish their resumes and interview skills, network with employers, and participate in a number of workshops and relevant discussions. You can register to attend here.

How did you first become interested in computing/informatics?

My career path into technology was unexpected. While earning my master’s degree in Greek and Latin from Tufts University, I was assigned to create a digital library for our ancient Greek archives. This was before websites were readily available, so I was loading the archives onto four different CD-ROMs that professors could share with their classes. This was my first experience seeing a computer used to support teaching and learning. The idea of using this technology as a teaching tool made a ton of sense to me. I was intrigued to keep learning more.

What drove you to pursue a career in higher education?

I just love teaching. While I was pursuing my Ph.D., I started teaching as an adjunct, and it grew from there. Having really good mentors played a major role as well. Lastly, I’m grateful to UAlbany for giving me opportunities to create cool, innovative things. Through my work in the Department of Informatics and CEHC, I’ve helped build programs from the ground up, something that continues to energize me today.

If you were not teaching at UAlbany, what would you be doing?

I think I’d be running a non-profit to get more girls interested in STEAM. Fortunately, I can incorporate this passion into my job. It’s rewarding that I go into work every day with the potential to influence our nation’s future women technology professionals. I’m thankful to CEHC, along with my many colleagues around campus, for their support and shared belief that more work needs to be done in this space.

What is a fun fact the campus community would be surprised to know about you?

I am a certified Yoga instructor. I’ve led beginners, prenatal and postnatal classes.

What advice do you have for young women interested in STEAM?

My first piece of advice would be to connect with mentors who not only will advocate for you, but also with you. Secondly, there’s going to be some bad days, it is inevitable in any career field. Just remember that a single bad day is not a reflection of the whole picture. And last, find your people. It’s important to create a strong support network. You need to find others who share your values and will encourage you to achieve your goals. Never let anyone define what you’re capable of doing.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.