VIP is proud to mark ten years of the Women in Technology Scholarship (WITS) program, our hallmark scholarship program that supports young women across the nation who are pursuing degrees in information technology. As we celebrate the tenth year of WITS, we reached out to our past recipients to talk about their careers in this thriving industry and journeys as women in tech.
Meet Christine Petrozzo, a 2014 WITS recipient who earned her graduate degree in Information Management & Systems from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. Today, she shares her secrets to success in the technology industry.
Current Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Current Occupation: Senior Business Intelligence & Research Analyst
Best word to describe yourself: Driven.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today:
Currently, I work in a Business Intelligence & Research function at a major media company in the San Francisco Bay Area. In my undergraduate program, I pursued a dual Journalism and English degree from Syracuse University’s College of Arts & Sciences and the S..I Newhouse School of Public Communications, and ended up as an editor for several years in the media industry. After I learned how analytics could help inform business decisions and media operations, I soon realized I wanted to move into a quantitative, technical path. As such, I married my undergraduate degree in humanities with a graduate degree in Information Management & Systems from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. The pairing of my media background along with my newly acquired graduate degree helped me attain a more technical analytics job within the same industry I’ve been in since I left college. Even though I work in an analytics function and no longer an editorial one, I still am a storyteller, a data storyteller.
What are your favorite, must-have apps, tools, or software? Asana.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Fear is only a construct; don’t let it take hold of you.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the technology industry? My inner critic. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of listening to negative, self-limiting beliefs or identifying with ‘imposter’ notions of one’s self when starting in a new field or stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Overcoming inner doubts—or at least keeping them in check—does require extra effort to become conscious of them. But, it is possible, especially if paired with cultivating positive self-talk regarding one’s contributions, abilities and successes in the workplace.
What was your favorite college class and why? Computer-mediated communication systems—it encompassed the study of theoretical frameworks regarding how different types of computer-mediated technologies help, hinder and shape social dynamics in online environments. Even though one of the biggest benefits technology bring to us is communication, it can also can also provide complications. It’s been helpful to study the positive and negative effects of computer-mediated systems in order to better understand how to research, design, implement and utilize current and emerging technologies embedded into the social structures of the world today.
What motivates you? I find solving challenging business questions the most motivating, especially the ones which call for the use of quantitative and qualitative methods, as one approach can attempt to answer the ‘what’ questions and the other, some of the ‘whys’. When using these approaches to help solve business questions, I think of it as puzzles pieces coming together which help tell the bigger picture. Unearthing the insights and transforming them into a meaningful narrative is always fun and exciting for me.
Fun fact about you… I was a Junior Olympic swimmer when I was a tween.