Hollins University is one of the founding partner institutions for a new women-focused professional development program that offers students technology and career readiness skills.
Hollins and Sweet Briar College are joining with technology company Cognosante as the Falls Church, Virginia-based firm launches its Women in STEM Alliance, which seeks to prepare women for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
According to Jeffrey White, director of Career Development and Life Design at Hollins, the partnership offers students of most any major the opportunity to engage their liberal arts competencies in a tech and government work environment. “Although the program emphasizes STEM,” he explained, “Cognosante also has a need for interns in a variety of departments such as human resources, research, and communications.”
“Proactively addressing gender inequity in the workforce is essential to enhancing diversity within the federal government contracting industry,” stated Cognosante Chief Administration Officer Jennifer Bailey. “The women’s colleges we partnered with share our commitment to eliminating gender bias through meaningful opportunities and developing the next generation of leaders.”
The Women in STEM Alliance features a 10-week paid Summer College Analyst Program, which assigns students with managers and departments aligned to their academic goals; a semester-long paid Scholars Program, in which students can earn college credit while working full-time at a Cognosante office; and the Cognosante Campus Connection, a series of on-campus seminars, speaking engagements, and mentoring. As part of the program, Cognosante customizes aspects of the experience to address known challenges for women in the workforce, specifically securing opportunities, gaining access, and developing leadership skills.
“This opportunity can help take Hollins students to a new level of career readiness and marketability,” noted White.
“This immersive program provides hands-on experience to accelerate the start of a STEM career. It also gives students with non-technical aspirations the chance to work in the tech industry and develop the skills needed for a career in business, strategy, or operations,” said Jackie Ackerman, vice president of data science at Cognosante. “We are excited to provide Hollins and Sweet Briar students with an opportunity to develop highly applicable skills and expand their professional network.”