INI Student Orgs: More than a Social Outlet

WINI Breakfast with Melissa Hathaway

INI students find no shortage of social events and extra-curricular activities on campus. At a school as innovative as Carnegie Mellon, many of the events that take place outside of the classroom are as valuable and memorable as the ones experienced from the seat of a desk.

GOINI, which stands for the Graduate Organization at the INI, is a student-run organization that puts together several social events during the year, such as happy hours at favorite places in Shady Side and picnics at Schenley Park. GOINI also looks for ways to help the campus community, such as leading a workshop on handling computer data safely for identity protection.

Established in 2005, Women@INI, or WINI, was founded to support and promote diversity at the INI and provides female students with opportunities to lead events and initiatives at the INI. Members of WINI have the chance to represent the INI at conferences, organize seminars for their peers, and coordinate social events on campus. In the fall, the variety of events at WINI included scheduling a movie night and an ice cream social, learning quilting basics from a faculty member and hosting a Thanksgiving potluck dinner for all INI students.

The highlight of WINI's fall activities was a breakfast with former White House aide Melissa Hathaway, who led President Obama's 60-day review of federal cybersecurity practices. Dr. Hathaway visited campus in October 2009 for the annual CyLab Partners Conference and offered to meet with the women in the INI's graduate programs. After a hot breakfast, the women discussed technology topics, such as Internet regulations, cloud computing, and cybersecurity in different cultures, and they touched on issues related to personal goals, such as work-life balance for working mothers and the decision to pursue a doctorate.

The students at the INI also connect with other student-run organizations on campus, such as Women@SCS (School of Computer Science), to get involved in promoting and attending their events. One such event is Creative TechNights, a program that works to engage middle school girls in technology. Students get together to lead the evening program with discussions and creative projects for girls in the Pittsburgh area.

Despite carrying a full course load each semester, INI students make time to enjoy the social aspects of campus. In addition to the benefit of making friends, many find themselves refining their networking skills and taking leadership opportunities that translate into nice points on their resumes.

Pictured above: In October 2009, former White House aide Melissa Hathaway met for breakfast with members of WINI at the INI Building.