Photo: Break Through Tech

Break Through Tech Students Join UNICC for January Winternship

UNICC is making strides to support its Clients and Partner Organizations in all sectors of digital business transformation. It is helping its stakeholders to deliver on all of the SDGs, but in particular perhaps SDG 5 – Gender Equality, SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.

UNICC aspires to bring gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness into the digital business field. We know what a challenge it is; we know it requires a massive change of mindsets and habits in corporate culture. Change has to start at home. Inspired by the leadership of the UN Secretary General, we have set ambitious targets for UNICC, and with humility, courage and determination we WILL deliver on them.

Milena Grecuccio, Chief of Staff and OIC, Corporate Services, UNICC

With these goals in mind, UNICC, working with Break Through Tech in New York City, hosted its third, annual gathering of ‘Winterns’ (winter interns) for the month of January 2021. The Communications team welcomed City University of New York (CUNY) students Aaliyah John (John Jay College of Criminal Justice), Adriana Sanmartin (Brooklyn College) and Chloé Zambrano (Hunter College). Break Through Tech (formerly WiTNY) works to expand representation and diversity across all genders and racial backgrounds providing network and internship opportunities. UNICC Winterns also spent part of their time, as part of a UNICC-ITU partnership on gender parity issues, working with the ITU Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York.

During their internship, Aaliyah, Adriana and Chloé were mentored by Denian Ouyang, UNICC Animation Intern, working on two projects. The first project, “It Takes a Team,” consisted of writing articles on UNICC technical teams recognition to be published in Staffnet’s In Focus area. They worked closely with a variety of UNICC teams to learn about delivered services and projects, the certain challenges they faced and overcame, and the results of good teamwork.

Gathering accurate and complete information was a challenge. With the help of our team, we were able to overcome these obstacles by opening channels of communication.

Aaliyah John, Wintern 2021, UNICC

Projects included:

  • Messaging Engineering Group (MEG) as Finalists for the 2020 Secretary General Awards
  • OPD and CPP Complete Successful Migrations for 4 UN Client Agencies in The Wake of COVID-19
  • CPI Identity and Management, SQL, and Windows updated of the Identity Management servers for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Insight on Common Secure Team
  • Accessibility of Shared Mailboxes for Optimized Issue Resolution
  • UNJSPF’s Digital CE (Certification of Entitlement) app.

The second project they worked on, in partnership with ITU, was Girls and Women Talking Tech, an inter-generational interview series. Each intern was paired with a woman from UNICC and another technology thought leader to be interviewed. These conversations were particularly memorable and presented many opportunities for the interns to learn from the shared stories.

A common takeaway from our interviews was not to “let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Adriana Sanmartin, Wintern 2021, UNICC

Based on her interest in the field of cybersecurity, Aaliyah was paired with Tima Soni, Chief Cybersecurity Section, UNICC and Nicole Pitter Patterson, Co-Founder of Caribbean Girls Hack. Adriana interviewed Lilly Hedges, Head Service Desk, UNICC and Beate Degen, Non-Executive Director, Senior Business Executive. Chloé interviewed Nuria Reques Waterink, Businessn Relationship Manager at UNICC and Meredith Stowell, Vice President IBM Z Ecosystem. These conversations are posted interviews on the Talking Tech YouTube playlist

On the final day of internship, the interns virtually presented to the UNICC and ITU staff members a summary of their two projects and thanked the organization for their provided guidance and support over the month of January.

As a result of this experience we are more excited than ever to pursue a career in tech and we feel well-equipped to take on future endeavours.

Chloé Zambrano, Wntern 2021, UNICC

UNICC hopes to continue this partnership with Break Through Tech as well as City University of New York (CUNY) to promote gender parity in digital business solutions and advocate for the SDGs in all parts of the UN family. Aaliyah, Adriana and Chloé are now three of the 10 interns that this strategic cooperation has brought forth in the past three years. UNICC wishes them great success in their future careers in technology and digital business solutions and hopes to see them, non-virtually, in another UN setting!