Sylleste Davis

We welcomed Sylleste Davis as our first speaker of the year!

  • She is now retired, but had worked at Santee Cooper previously
  • Alum of C of C from 1983
  • Her interest in Computer Science
    • Liked analytical things
    • Grace Hopper was one of her Heros as one of the first women in computing
    • Majored in Math, took some computer science classes – in COBOL
  • She liked computer science, but not the classes
    • In class she felt like the things they were doing didn’t really matter
    • Her senior year, Santee Cooper came on campus and she started working there
    • Was worried that she wouldn’t like her job because she didn’t like the classes
    • Liked it though and was happy because she felt like what she was doing mattered
  • Later, she went back to school and earned her masters
  • Was in IT from the 1980s through 2000
  • Wanted to know about what was happening in the future
    • History is important to see how the things in the past lead to what we will have in the future
    • Was able to see the first business email systems, some of the first security issues, the integration of voice and data
  • Liked computer science because it was like a big puzzle
  • Lessons learned
    • IT is interesting
    • Constantly Changing
    • Always better/different way
    • Meaningful
    • Lucrative
  • Her thoughts on how to increase the number of women in tech
    • Start exposure to computer science in middle schools
    • Do a better job integrating CS into high school curriculum
    • Make AP Computer Science more widely available
    • Make available more scholarships and internships
    • Stop “dumbing down” and perpetuating the stereotypes – this is just not necessary
    • Don’t let someone else define who you are – go with your gifts, your intuition, and be courageous
    • Don’t let tedium get in the way of doing something meaningful
    • Don’t pay attention to what those around you are doing or how they look – stay your course and remain confident in your abilities
    • The future of IT is exciting!  Be in the middle of it!

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