WITNY Students Help Bridge Digital and Gender Divides

25 January, 2019

Three winter interns from the WITNY programme

​UNICC is committed to helping to bring more young women into the ICT field. As there is much work to do in gender parity in ICT generally – and information security in particular, we were happy to sponsor three undergraduate students from the City University of New York (CUNY). Kiara Esteves, Momina Din and Aja Tarrao teamed up to deliver a project with UNICC.  This was a three-week internship through the auspices of Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY).

The internship allowed the three to learn about a variety of business areas in UNICC, information security, ICT today and learn about the United Nations. WiTNY- launched in 2016 with the City University of New York (CUNY), Cornell Tech and industry partners work to propel women into tech careers through education, work experiences, and community-building. WITNY prioritises digital enthusiasm for all. Working together, their goal, like ours – is to narrow the gender gap in technology.

Left: Momina, Aja and Kiara (in center) with (left to right) Tom Buelens, Tima Soni, Nitesh Kudva and Bill Allen of UNICC. Right:  Cristina Cabrejas and Alison Clement of UNICEF with interns.  Photos: UNICC/Allen

Left: Ursula Wyndhoven and Kadi Sall-Beye with interns. Right: Enrique Aguilar, Frances Fernandes, Myinzu Shwe of UNICC; Nyisha Howell, Andrea Shapiro Davis and Melina Diaconis of CUNY. Photos: UNICC/Allen

Our ‘Winterns’ were here from 7 January through 24 January 2019, working on a project to produce an annual report for UNICC’s growing information security services. The experience allowed our three interns to also learn about a variety of business areas at UNICC, meet with the entire geographically-dispersed infosec team and a number of our Clients. The interns visited Accenture and Cornell Tech’s new smart campus on Roosevelt Island. They also had a tour of the United Nations.

They worked with Tima Soni, Chief, Information Security Services and William Allen, Communications Officer and Information Security Awareness liaison. We talked a lot about working for non-profits, for the United Nations and what it means to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our iinterns experienced:

  • Biz talks with members of UNICC across the business spectrum
  • Information security briefings and data gathering from the Informatgion Security services team (in New York, Valencia, Geneva and Rome)
  • Visit to ITU where they met with Ursula Wyndhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations and Kadiatou
    Sall-Beye, ITU Project
    Officer, LDCs
  • Lunch with Cristina Cabrejas, Information Security Specialist and Alison Clement, ICT Communications Specialist at UNICEF
  • Visits with Sachiko Hasumi, Chief Information Security Officer and Soren Thomassen, Chief of IT at UN Women
  • Attendance at a biusiness meeting with Jorge Torres, Chief Information Security Officer at UNICEF
  • Trip to Cornell Tech with Amy Furman, Director of Strategic Planning and Operations, WITNY and Fatima Sacko at WITNY with six members of UNICC.

The final presentation was attended by ten members of UNICC as well as Melina Diaconis from CUNY, Andrea Shapiro Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor of CUNY and her Chief of Staff, Nyisha Howell. The interns were respectful, quick to understand business and professional attitudes and attire, working well together as a team and providing a professional report at the end of their Winternship. UNICC was proud to host them and to present them with SDGs pins, hoping that they might will return after college to work in the United Nations system!

We hope to involve these fantastic young women in our annual International Girls in ICT Day in April. See last’s year’s event here: https://www.equals.org/single-post/2018/06/18/New-York-City-celebrates-Girls-in-ICT-Day.