This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Women in IT

“What excites me most about IT is the endless possibilities of what technology can be applied to. The vast majority of careers use computers and/or technology in some manner and I find it fascinating that one can combine an interest in technology with another subject and there are opportunities available.”
Vanessa's biography

My name is Vanessa MacIsaac and I am in my 4th year of Computer Science, Bioinformatics Option at the University of Ottawa. I was born and raised in Ottawa and chose to continue living here while I pursued post-secondary education. I originally started my studies in Biotechnology, but switched to Computer Science after my first year as I discovered the field of computing is what I was more passionate about. I am also passionate about volunteer work and promoting women in computing. Some of my volunteer work on campus includes being the VP of External Affairs for my program’s student association, ushering and speaking at Faculty of Engineering events and assisting in the launch of a new club this year, the SHE# Club, to promote women in computing. I am very interested in research in the field of bioinformatics and I hope to have a future career in this field.

In my spare time I enjoy leading an active lifestyle through walking, skiing and swimming. I also enjoy spending time with my two sisters and brother as well as reading and sewing.

I work as a Software Developer in the MCRLab at the University of Ottawa. My work consists of implementing ideas and algorithms from graduate students as Android applications. These applications act as a proof of concept to demonstrate how the ideas are useful in day to day life.I also hold an elected volunteer position as the Vice-President of External Affairs for the Computer Science Student Association at the University of Ottawa. My role is to represent students while managing relations with professors in the faculty, other student associations, as well as external groups and companies.

What excites me most about IT is the endless possibilities of what technology can be applied to. The vast majority of careers use computers and/or technology in some manner and I find it fascinating that one can combine an interest in technology with another subject and there are opportunities available. Personally, I am interested in genomics and I have been able to add an option in “Bioinformatics” to my degree that allows me to further explore topics in biology and discover how computing can be used in conjunction with genetic research.

My first experience with computing came when I took a technology course in 10th grade. I enjoyed the class, but never seriously considered a career in technology, instead choosing to pursue a post-secondary education in Sciences. After my first year in university I felt my program choice did not reflect what I wanted a career in. I thought back to the tech course I had taken and how much I had liked it. I switched into Computer Science and haven’t looked back since. I thoroughly enjoy the level of creativity and critical thinking computing entails, and my only regret is I wish I had gotten into IT sooner!

For a woman interested in pursuing a career in Computer Science I recommend three things: practicing your skills, finding a specific topic of interest and asking for help.I find the first two go hand in hand, when you find a topic that sparks your interest you will be willing to put forth time to practice it. You need to practice coding to become a good programmer, so you might as well practice coding something that interests you! If a subject in technology fascinates you, you’ll be willing to spend extra time researching it and experimenting with your knowledge gathered; this is great practice for a future career in computing. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’m guilty of this myself, but it’s important to recognize that you have a wealth of resources available to help you and asking for guidance from your peers does not mean you don’t know anything.

School, work and volunteering keep my schedule quite full so at the end of the day I love to clear my head by either going for a walk or making a cup of tea and cheering on my favourite hockey team, the Ottawa Senators!
VanessaMacIsaac largephoto

 

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
For Inquiries :
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.