Con­tact: John Natale at 617–373-2802

(3–8-07) BOSTON, Mass. — At first glance, one might think North­eastern Uni­ver­sity junior Tanya Cashorali was bent on out­shining the com­pe­ti­tion. At only 21-​​years-​​old, her achieve­ments include three co-​​op jobs with top cancer sci­en­tists, one grant-​​funded study on tumor devel­op­ment, and numerous pre­sen­ta­tions to world-​​renowned doc­tors. But this young prodigy isn’t out to beat the com­pe­ti­tion, she’s out to create more; a fleet of young women who study, teach, and con­duct ground­breaking high-​​tech research.

Cashorali is shat­tering the glass ceiling for bud­ding female com­puter sci­en­tists, and on her rise to the top, she’s taking her “CIS­ters” with her.

CIS­ters is Northeastern’s all-​​female com­puter and infor­ma­tion sci­ence club, com­prised of group pres­i­dent Cashorali and a team of gifted young women who want to attract more females to tech­nology majors and careers. The club’s goal is to empower young women with men­tor­ship, edu­ca­tion, and inter­ac­tion with accom­plished role models in acad­emia and industry.

Under Cashorali’s lead­er­ship, CIS­ters has hosted lec­tures and net­working events with guest speakers from IBM, Google, Yahoo!, Sun Microsys­tems, and the Depart­ment of Defense. These events give stu­dents mean­ingful inter­ac­tion with poten­tial employers, pro­viding a forum to meet the speakers and ask career-​​related questions.

There are many mis­con­cep­tions sug­gesting that com­puter sci­ence is, by nature, a male-​​dominated field.” states Cashorali. “It’s time to elim­i­nate them and the bound­aries they create. We need to go after young women and show them they can relate com­puter sci­ence to almost any field they are pas­sionate about.”

Out­side of CIS­ters, tran­scending bound­aries is a recur­ring theme for Cashorali. Defying type­casts linked to the average technophile, she enjoys such hob­bies as DJing at Boston night­clubs, playing guitar, and checking out local bands at con­cert venues.

Her spe­cialty, bioin­for­matics, also breaks bound­aries, by blending mol­e­c­ular biology and com­puter sci­ence to trans­form raw data of the human genome into useful infor­ma­tion for treating dis­eases. Cashorali has employed this unique skill-​​set in her co-​​op jobs at Har­vard Part­ners, Children’s Hos­pital Boston, and now the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

At Dana Farber, Cashorali cre­ates intranet appli­ca­tions that enable sci­en­tists to ana­lyze their exper­i­ments at a closer level, thus cre­ating a hybrid research model that blends the best of human and com­puter intel­li­gence to iden­tify cancer-​​causing pro­teins more effi­ciently. The goal is to use data from a person’s genetic makeup to create strate­gies for diag­nosing, treating, and pre­venting dis­eases, also known as “per­son­al­ized medicine.”

Biology and com­puter sci­ence may seem like two dis­jointed fields, but in reality they are con­verging quickly, and for a very impor­tant cause,” states Cashorali.

Cashorali’s dream job would both allow her to make break­throughs in per­son­al­ized med­i­cine, and closely mentor future gen­er­a­tions of CIS­ters. “My goal through CIS­ters is to cul­ti­vate an interest among women in com­puter sci­ence,” she explains. “We’re doing this by showing that the field has impor­tant appli­ca­tions in the real world; in many cases, life-​​saving ones.”

About North­eastern: Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.