Feature Stories 2024: Ashlee Shuemaker '24: From intern to inspiration

Feature Stories 2024: Ashlee Shuemaker '24: From intern to inspiration
Ashlee Shuemaker '24: From intern to inspiration

STEMming While Black secretary is set to graduate with a job offer from Dell Technologies

Computer science major, resident assistant, and STEMming While Black Secretary Ashlee Shuemaker '24 is making STEM more diverse while making technology better for everyone. A Tribe Academy event on campus led Shuemaker to an internship at Dell Technologies that resulted in an official job offer—months before she graduates.  

Why did you choose UMassD? 

"Affordability was a factor for me.  And, when I came to UMass Dartmouth for a tour, the students all seemed to enjoy being here. I also liked that I would have small class sizes."  

Why did you decide to study computer science?  

"I want to make the tech we use better.  My mom, for example, hates technology. A lot of people do. I want to help create technology that people can enjoy using by making it more user-friendly. Initially, I thought I wanted to do web development, but during my internship at Dell, I became interested in site reliability engineering. Site reliability engineers look at how well technology is working and how it can improve to better serve user needs." 

Ashlee Shuemaker standing in front of the Dell Technologies sign

Tell us about your internship at Dell – what did you do? How did you find this opportunity? 

"I attended a Tribe Academy conference on campus and Dell was one of the companies represented there."  

Tribe Academy is an organization dedicated to advancing diversity in business and STEM. Tribe Academy partners with UMass Dartmouth to bring industry leaders together with students for rich networking and professional development opportunities.  

"I met with a Dell representative, learned about the internship, and went through the application process," Shuemaker explained. "A few months later, they flew me to Austin, TX, for an internship boot camp. We met with executives, attended seminars, and got to network with other Dell employees and interns.  After this training, I worked in their Hopkinton, MA office in collaboration with other interns and software engineers. This internship helped me build a different set of skills from what we learn in the classroom and gave me practice working in a team." 

More than 95% of students in the College of Engineering are employed or in graduate school six months after graduation, but many, like Shuemaker, receive job offers much sooner than that. "My internship led to an official job offer, and I'll be starting to work for Dell in July." 

Ashlee Shuemaker standing next to an illuminated sign that says INSPIRE

Tell us about your involvement with STEMming While Black – what is your role? Why is this organization important to you? 

"Black women are underrepresented in the field of computer science. As the only Black woman in my cohort, I know how important it is to have community and to know you're not alone. It's important to see people who look like you and who share the same goals and interests. STEMming While Black creates a community where students motivate and support each other, and I wanted to be a part of that. 

"As secretary, I take notes for all of our meetings, and I help coordinate events like the elevator pitch workshop and the annual gala."  

STEMming While Black members come from a wide variety of majors: health and society, nursing, biology, engineering, and more. Anyone interested in joining can follow the group on Instagram for more information.   

Dell employees gathered around a table at an event

What's been your favorite part of your UMassD experience? 

"I have loved being a resident assistant (RA) since my sophomore year. We have a great community here, and a lot of my friends are RAs too. I enjoy being able to help other students, connecting them with the resources they need, or serving as an advocate for them. When new students come here not knowing anyone, I get to be their first friend on campus. It's a good feeling to be that person for someone."  

What advice would you give to future students? 

"Go to career fairs and recruiting events, and network as much as you can. College is one of the few places where you're surrounded by people who want to help you succeed, so take advantage of that help. Be open to how much there is to learn outside of class. Hard skills go far, but soft skills go farther. 

"And, find a group of friends, especially friends in your major.  You'll rely on each other." 


UMassD favorites: 

Class: Gender, Society, and Brazilian Cinema 

Professor: Clinton Rogers 

Mentor:  Resident Director David Benevides 

Place to study: Library 5th floor overlooking the Campus Center 

Place to eat on campus:  the Grove 

Memory:  When the school held a '90s party in the Woodlands 

Event:  Unity Fest, Moonlight Breakfast 

Extracurricular: Card games