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SC&I Alumnae Reflect Upon Women's History Month: “If You Can See Her, You Can Be Her”
In honor of Women’s History Month, five successful alumnae describe how being female has impacted their experiences as SC&I students and as professionals.
In honor of Women’s History Month, five successful alumnae describe how being female has impacted their experiences as SC&I students and as professionals.

In 1987, March became known and celebrated as Women’s History Month in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, as “an annual recognition of the historical and modern accomplishments and perseverance of women across the globe –financially, socially, and politically,” according to Wikipedia.

In honor of Women’s History Month in March 2022, SC&I asked five alumnae the same question: “How has being a woman impacted your studies and career?”

Read the fascinating and inspirational responses from our alumnae representing each SC&I major (and the Master of Communication and Media Program) about what Women’s History Month means to them!

In honor of Women’s History Month 2022, SC&I highlighted 5 alumnae.Lindsay Balsamo COM’15: Manager, NBC Olympics Sales Marketing

 As a woman, I’ve always looked up to strong females throughout my studies and career. I believe it is critical for young women to have female role models and mentors that inspire and encourage them to use their voice, especially in settings and industries that lack diversity. Throughout my career in sports, oftentimes I have been the only woman on the team or the only woman in the room. I largely attribute my success, growth, and willingness to speak up to the women that have paved the way before me. I firmly believe the notion, if you can see her, you can be her. 

 Brittany Castellanos MCM ’21, COM ’19: Account Coordinator, Resound Marketing

Being a woman can impact so many aspects of your life, but I must say I am very proud to have pursued both my bachelor’s and master's in Communication at Rutgers. I connected with other hard-working women during my time at RU and it was a wonderful feeling to be able to work together, learn from one another, and support each other however we could. Without a doubt, there are certain areas in the Communications field that are male dominated, which can be intimidating. However, I chose to use that intimidation as fuel. I worked to become more educated and self-assured in my abilities as a Communications professional. I even paid more attention to the organizations I was applying to because I wanted to be treated respectfully and know I was working for an equal opportunity workplace. As a whole, being a woman impacted both my studies and career, in a primarily positive way. I have come out on the other side with a professional network made up of many hardworking women. Additionally, I have become more knowledgeable, confident, and ready to take on any challenge that comes my way!

Marisa Elsaesser ITI’11: Product Manager, Automated and Live Chat at Verizon

When considering a career in IT, I can recall a family member telling me that they "knew" the type of people that worked in this industry - and I wasn’t it. Well, after acing the intro to IT class and hearing a lot from the instructor about the need for more women in technology, I decided not to listen to that family advice and instead declared ITI as my major. I may not have fit the stereotype upon entering the industry, but I'm proud to be helping to redefine it. It's been very rewarding - I graduated with a great job offer and am blessed to have employment today despite the tough economic time. It hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies, though - I've experienced the awkwardness of being one of very few women at a large tech conference, and the recipient of way too many inappropriate advances. I've learned a lot from these moments on how to use my voice and power, advocating for myself and all women in the industry. I continue to be impressed with how much emphasis is being placed on supporting women in tech by removing the obstacles that make it difficult for us to be successful in it - whether it's the gender pay gap, bias, lack of opportunity and sponsorship, engagement, harassment, etc. There's certainly more work to be done, but it's also never been a better time to be a woman in tech.

Lorezelle Shey Yanga ITI’16: Cyber Security Analyst, Sanofi

 Working in a STEM field, I have been able to see the disparate changes of a field that is dominated by men - something that is now slowly shifting. I have felt both intimidated when being one of the only women in the room, but also felt powerful and motivated by this notion. I've learned that I am capable of doing what I set my mind to, regardless of what stigmas lie in my field, and also captivated by the support I've received from those around me. It has absolutely been difficult, but it is an adversity that has allowed me to remain resilient in pursuit of equality in the workplace by breaking barriers and stereotypes. It has shown me that there is still much room for improvement, but that now more than ever we are making strides towards these improvements through discussion and actions. I am surrounded by other women in my family that have also worked in STEM, my own mother included, and the resiliency and strength of these women-only inspire me further to continually reach for my goals. I am going to be the first woman in my family to graduate with my master’s degree soon and I couldn't be more proud and motivated to help lead this trend for future women in my field.

Kelly Whiteside JMS’90: Associate Professor of Sports Media and Journalism at Montclair State University, former staff writer at USA Today, Newsday, and Sports Illustrated.

I loved studying journalism at Rutgers and writing for the Targum was the best training ground imaginable. During my career as a sportswriter, I was usually the only woman in the press box when covering college football or baseball games. But it didn't matter. Being the "first" or the "only" was a challenge at times, but mostly it was an opportunity.  

More information about the Rutgers School of Communication and Information is on the website 




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