Women in Computer Science Career Panel

This panel was designed to help undergraduate female computer science majors imagine a career in the Information Technology profession and to give an honest view of the work experiences of Women in Madison in the Software industry. Our four panel members were all currently employed in the technology field in Madison, Wisconsin. 

This event was co-sponsored by Madison Women in TechUW Computer Science Department and UW-Madison’s chapter of WACM

Thank you to our four panelists:

Aimee Jahnke

Aimee currently works as an internal business consultant for Department of Workforce Development, in the Division of Operations. Her assignments carry the title of project manager or business analyst, however her success is dependent on detective skills and identifying win/win opportunities of IT projects, these wins provide the foundation for strategic cross program partnerships. She has served many roles in the Agile process; SME (subject matter expert), Product Owner, Scrum Master and Lead Tester. Her projects include case management applications with integrated fiscal processing, report creation, data bridge design, entity resolution and data integration projects. Her key skills in these projects are understanding business processes, designing for the end user and the business strategic long term goals, asking system users what questions they want their data to answer and incorporating reporting needs in design upfront, and working with business teams to find their unknown, unknowns. These skills help her transform big dreams into single small steps to success.

Lena Olson

Lena Olson has been a software engineer in Google’s Madison office since late 2016. Before that, she spent a lot of time in the UW-Madison CS building, first working on a BS in Computer Sciences and Scandinavian Studies, and then a MS and PhD in Computer Sciences. Her primary interests in grad school were computer architecture, operating systems, and security; these have turned out to be useful things to think about in industry too, although she has also been learning a lot lately about networks, good software engineering practices, and testing. Outside of work, her current favorite activities include zumba, gardening, and reading books that are completely unrelated to computers.

Melissa Perry

Melissa Perry transitioned to Madison last fall, and now works as an Analytics Engineer with US Cellular Corporation. With an educational background in Financial Economics and Spanish, her pathway into technology may be considered nontraditional. She fell in love with creating databases and sustainable infrastructure early in her career, because she loves solving puzzles and bringing order to messy situations. She now helps a team maintaining US Cellular’s complex network to make better decisions, and improve and automate important processes. While her job is highly technical in nature, Melissa commonly applies transferable skills sets, like continuous improvement, adaptive leadership, and design thinking, to focus teams on driving business results, rather than jumping head first into solutions. While Melissa loves her career, she emphasizes that it is merely one aspect of her life, which includes being a wife, dog mom, yogi, home chef, and friend to others.

Sandra Conrad

Sandra is a veteran software developer and business analyst. She has worked in multiple agencies for the State of Wisconsin, and is currently working at DPI. She has built new business applications as well as maintaining and enhancing applications built by others. She is originally from Ecuador, and graduated from the Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral as a Programmer/Business Analyst.