Computer Science Senior Encourages Students to ‘Stay With It’

Jackie RobinsonRising computer science senior Jacqueline Robinson recently wrapped up her first full semester as a squad member for Intel’s Stay With It Engineering program.

As a squad member, Robinson said she spent the past eight months “promoting any initiatives the program hosted.”

“We also try to maintain an active social media presence to showcase our journeys of becoming engineers to inspire those who follow us,” she added.

The program, an online community in which engineering students can engage with each other and share engineering related content and support, was first introduced to Robinson through her participation with LSU’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Robinson, who is from Slidell, Louisiana, said she was attracted to the program because of its potential for international impact.

“Many on-campus programs and initiatives are much more local to the organization members or the LSU community,” she said. “This program has a much larger focus. The organization’s purpose is to encourage students from all over the world.”

The Stay With It Program is free for anyone to join. The program has a strong social media presence, which is mostly active on Facebook, according to Robinson. She encourages fellow students to check out the program’s Facebook page.

“Some people use it when they need help with homework. You can also use it to reach out and see if there is another student or professional who is currently doing something you want to do,” Robinson said. “If you are concerned about something or struggling to get past an obstacle, you can reach out on Facebook to see if anyone else has advice on a similar problem.”

The program’s main website also hosts a blog that offers advice on topics like how to land an internship, resume templates for first time job seekers, informative videos about the diversity of the field and other engineering resources—all free of charge for its members.

Robinson said her role is centered on being the liaison between college students and the industry.

“While I don’t plan events, the insight I submit about our concerns of being engineering students and what we would like to see in the industry is important,” she said. “During my time with the program, I worked with others to launch a Stay With It Women group because we felt that addressing the gender gap was important.”

In addition to being a member of NSBE and attending Association in Computing Machinery (ACM) events, Robinson is a founding member of Women in Computer Science (WICS) at LSU. Through her involvement with these various organizations, she said, she’s gained better perspective on her chosen field and received the necessary tools to sharpen existing skills and cultivate new ones.

Robinson said the Stay With It program “impacted her socially,” and allowed for some relief from the anxiety that often accompanies entering the engineering field for the first time.

“A lot of the fear of graduating and entering the industry is attributed to low confidence and feeling unprepared,” she said. “Students seeing videos of other students and professionals make you feel inspired and more prepared.”

Robinson also said the program features a mentorship component that allowed her to grow closer with professionals and industry representatives in her field.

“I have received a lot of advice from the coordinator of the program, Rhonda Peters James,” she said. “I learned how to analyze my skills in engineering and how to properly market my talent.”

With eight months as a Stay With It squad member behind her, Robinson plans to begin her senior year this fall as an active member of the online support community of engineering students.

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For more information on the Stay With It program, visit http://staywithit.org/, or check out their Facebook page. For questions, contact communications assistant M.B. Humphrey at marissah@lsu.edu.

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