Erin O’Rourke was a sophomore when she attended her first meeting for Women in Computer Science (WiCS), a student organization that fosters a friendly environment for women in computer science and other technology-related fields.
Attending the myriad networking and social events offered by groups like WiCS—or by Pitt’s thriving Computer Science Club—was a perfect way to connect with other students and to discover professional opportunities.
“I’m lucky that the people running WiCS when I got involved were so good at making people feel included,” says O’Rourke, who served as a WiCS officer and the group’s marketing director and is now club president.
Her professional development also received a boost from an SCI scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration, an annual meeting highlighting women in technology and offering professional development and networking activities. Connections she made at the Celebration helped O’Rourke secure valuable summer internships with Cisco Systems and Microsoft.
As an on-campus IT assistant, O’Rourke has also gained valuable experience doing “tech-adjacent things” like fixing campus printers, troubleshooting tech issues for faculty and staff, and coding when needed.
Although she came to SCI armed with enough computer-science experience to know she’d major in the field, O’Rourke was surprised to find herself developing a passion for Political Science, now her second major.
“I’ve spent time connecting those degrees whenever possible,” she says. “I came to Pitt knowing I wanted to study Computer Science but I really like that I’ve had the chance to pursue other passions as well.”