Get to know the 2024 Community Exchange I2I scholarship recipients! The scholarships will be recognized at the Internet2 Community Exchange held March 4-7 in Chicago, Ill.
2024 Internet2 Community Exchange | March 4-7 | Chicago, Ill
Meet the Internet2 Inclusivity Scholarship Recipients
Celebrating Professional Women in IT
We are pleased to share the winners of the 2024 Community Exchange Internet2 Inclusivity (I2I) Scholarship, which is centered on increasing the meaningful participation of women information technology professionals in the research and education (R&E) community.
Sonal Jha is a Computer Engineering Ph.D. student affiliated with Synergy Lab at Virginia Tech, run by her advisor Dr. Wu-chun Feng. Her research focuses on high-performance graph analytics for anomaly detection. Specifically, Jha works on problems such as generating large-scale graphs for benchmarking anomaly detection methods for several application domains, including finance, cosmology, healthcare, and life sciences, as well as creating temporal graph-based techniques for real-time and early detection of diseases in both human and animals. During her internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Jha worked on developing a graph neural network assisted sampling workflow for the identification of dark matter halos within cosmology data.
Beyond her research, Jha works as a graduate HPC consultant with Advanced Research Computing at Virginia Tech (ARC@VT). In this capacity, Jha aids university researchers, professors, and their research groups in scaling their scientific workloads over ARC’s HPC clusters. Her responsibilities include assisting with code design and debugging, ensuring compatibility with cluster environments, and supporting the installation of essential research software. Jha views STEM and Diversity & Inclusion outreach activities as an integral and fulfilling aspect of research and computing facilitation at universities. She aims to enhance her understanding of the community and its challenges by connecting with professionals in similar roles within academia and national labs.
Tina Oware is an information security and risk compliance analyst for the Information Security Office at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) subject matter expert among her team and also responsible for leading and coordinating PCI compliance for RIT. Oware researches and collaborates with other institutions on best practices to meet multiple compliances, such as PCI, HIPAA, and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. She enjoys educating the RIT community on PCI compliance and creating new relationships. Oware is passionate about her role and also enjoys collaborating with others on various projects and learning new things.
Oware holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, her country of origin. Later in life, Oware entered the Information Security field out of curiosity and has never regretted it. Her tenacious attitude got her elected as a representative on RIT’s Staff Council – a position Oware has now held for nearly three years. The council is an advisory body to administration on issues and decisions which impact the university. As a representative, Oware communicates to staff and acts as a conduit providing their feedback and insights on university issues.
Oware holds an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Project Management and industry certificates like Security+, PCIP, and GRCP. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree in Professional Studies with concentrations in Information Security, Project Management, and Leadership.
Kristen Weimar is the administrative manager for the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet). In her role, Weimar directs and coordinates the daily administrative activities of OARnet. She is responsible for project coordination, grant development, event planning, and communications. Additionally, one of her key roles is to liaise between teams, both internally and externally, including the many national groups to which OARnet is a member. Where possible, Weimar pioneers opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and research. She also works with the executive management team to define priorities and set the strategic direction for the organization.
OARnet, a division of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Ohio Technology Consortium, serves a broad range of clients including the state’s higher education, K-12, research, government, health care, libraries, and public broadcasting communities by connecting them to the digital world through its more than 5,500-mile, ultra-high-speed fiber-optic network. By investing in and championing cutting-edge innovations, and forming public-private partnerships, OARnet helps the state of Ohio stay technologically competitive while enabling research, supporting the state’s economic development, and creating a next-generation workforce.
Ivy Wells manages a team of system administrators and ID engineers at the University of Montana. Early in her IT career in the financial sector, Wells discovered a passion and talent for problem-solving, particularly regarding the intersection of people and computers. Wells continued to upskill and became a sysadmin, enjoying the challenge of a varied environment and the constant opportunities for learning.
In 2011, Wells joined the University of Montana as a systems administrator for Montana Public Radio and Montana Public Television, acquiring skills related to A/V production and radio frequency engineering as part of her sysadmin role. In 2023, Wells made the leap to management and had the great fortune to land among a team of highly skilled and experienced sysadmins. Her goal as a manager is to lead a team that is inclusive, proactive, and collaborative; she strives to provide everyone on the team with opportunities for growth and a healthy work-life balance. Wells is excited to engage with others in the higher ed community and is looking forward to building relationships and sharing knowledge.
Torin White is a lead data scientist with the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure for Education and Research (ACER) group at the University of Illinois Chicago, which supports research infrastructure for the campus, including high-performance computing, secure computing environments, and research data storage. White holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology and dual masters’ degrees in Information Science and Science Communication. They have been working with ACER for more than a year after transitioning from a career in academic librarianship.
White is passionate about teaching researchers how to use common data science tools and techniques to improve their software engineering and code/data management skills. They are involved in various national and international organizations such as The Carpentries and The United States Research Software Engineer Association, where they have been volunteering their time teaching, developing curriculum, and helping with conference organizing.