Kaitlyn Han­rahan of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a good stu­dent. She does not just want to be, she knows that she has to be. As a young woman in the male dom­i­nated field of com­puter and infor­ma­tion sci­ence, Han­rahan has taken advan­tage of Northeastern’s expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion model to add real-​​life work expe­ri­ence to her studies. The senior knew her efforts paid off when Adobe Sys­tems, Inc. asked her to join the com­pany upon graduation.

Girls in com­puter sci­ence are not allowed to be average,” said Han­rahan, who was once told by her high school com­puter club that it may not be of interest to her since she’s a girl. “People will look at you and assume that you can’t write or that you can’t pro­gram. There is a stereo­type for girls in com­puter sci­ence and you really have to fight that.”

Since then, Han­rahan has built up a stellar resume through her co-​​op expe­ri­ences, working full time for three semes­ters alter­nating with her semes­ters of aca­d­emic studies. Her Adobe job offer is a result of one of these co-​​op semes­ters that she had spent at the San Diego, CA com­pany. For six months, Han­rahan demon­strated her com­puter sci­ence skills while working as a soft­ware engi­neer for Adobe. She designed and built inter­faces for testing soft­ware tools, impressing the com­pany to invite her back.

Prior to working at Adobe, Han­rahan took advan­tage of Northeastern’s inter­na­tional co-​​op pro­gram spending the summer in Milan. At Pramerica Life, Prudential’s Euro­pean coun­ter­part, the com­puter science/​information sci­ence dual major worked as a system ana­lyst, finding ways to help the com­pany run more efficiently.

Han­rahan ded­i­ca­tion to push her­self toward excel­lence in what she loves to do moti­vated her to encourage others to do the same. In her freshman year, she co-​​founded CIS­ters, a stu­dent group ded­i­cated to fos­tering interest in com­puter sci­ence among women. CIS­ters sup­ports women already in the field and pro­motes a diverse image in the tech­nology industry. As the 22-​​year-​​old New Jersey native puts it, “We only get a few girls in com­puter sci­ence every year and we hope to encourage more females to look at com­puter sci­ence as a viable col­lege major and career.”

Han­rahan is also active in NUACM, Northeastern’s chapter of the Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­puting Machinery. She served as pres­i­dent last year and is taking a behind-​​the-​​scenes role this year as spe­cial projects chair. “The stu­dent groups are one of the best things about being at NU,” remarked Hanrahan.

Aside from her classes and extracur­ric­ular activ­i­ties, Han­rahan is teaching a stu­dent sem­inar this semester in the flash-​​based frame­work pro­gram, Flex, and working on her senior project.

For more infor­ma­tion on Kaitlyn Han­rahan, CIS­ters or NUACM, please con­tact Dan Schwartz at 617–373-5471 or at d.​schwartz@​neu.​edu.

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.