Saheedat, please tell us what you appreciate most about your journey as a UMassD student.
"The people. I have met so many people at UMassD who have opened the doors of opportunities and helped me along on my career path. They are a big part of my academic and future career success."
What extracurricular activities did you pursue that may have had a positive impact on your experience?
“I have been an RA since my sophomore year. In this role, I get a chance to be a support system to more than 30 students who make UMassD a home away from family and friends. This can be a challenge for many students, so I encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities early on. UMassD has so many choices.
This was my solution as a first-year student and Black woman in STEM/Computer Science, where I sometimes felt isolated. But, when I attended my very first National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) meeting, I found a family and support system. The NSBE family assured me they had been in my shoes at a point in their undergraduate career and gave me the inkling to keep moving forward with my chosen major.
When the opportunity arose to take on a leadership position within the organization, I jumped at it. I wanted to pay back the support that I had received and help other students thrive. Now as vice president of the NSBE UMassD chapter, I work alongside our president and e-board to provide our members with as many workshops, resources, and opportunities as we can. Our goal is to help our members become young, successful professionals starting from their college years and beyond."
What's your greatest takeaway from attending UMassD & how has it helped shape your career path?
“Participating in Dell Technologies' “Changing the Face of Tech STEM Leadership Experience” at the end of my second year really prepared me and put me on the trajectory for success. It was my first exposure to a real-life technology company. I had the opportunity to visit a Tech company’s campus and have 1:1 interaction with software engineers and people in other roles already in the field.
I completed the program feeling inspired and full of knowledge about the importance of personal branding and the power of an online presence on LinkedIn. This opportunity came to me with the support of Mrs. Peggy Dias (Executive Director of IT Service Assurance for the IT department), a fervent advocate for UMass Dartmouth students, and a person I regard as my mentor.
Last year, I continued my relationship with Dell Technologies as an intern. I worked remotely as a program/project management intern. I learned how to problem-solve in a fast-paced environment, the importance of communication, being adaptable, and being a team player. I also learned about the continuous process and workflow improvement. My internship has not only harnessed me with transferable skills suited for my chosen career field but exposed me to the real world simultaneously.
I was able to learn the importance of networking and the power of having a network. I applied this during my internship with Dell by reaching out to various people across multiple teams. Many of whom were happy to offer a plethora of advice to aspiring young professionals and even remain my mentors. Because I networked as much as I could during my internship, I received four offers, ranging from a software engineering rotational program to systems engineer, from different teams within the company.”
What are your plans following graduation?
“I will be joining Microsoft Corporation as an Engineer under their Azure Cloud Service Technology team."