The Tech Entrepreneur
Rohana Sosa ’19 is always thinking about the way technology can have a humanitarian impact. She doesn’t just write code, though—she blogs about her work, too, and plans on writing a book to inspire young girls.
Computer science major Rohana Sosa ’19 has been tirelessly developing new technology with a humanitarian spin since she set foot on the PLV Campus. Her team won second place at the 2017 Pace Pitch Contest (check out their presentation!), she participated in Seidenberg’s GenCyber program, attended Capital One’s Software Engineering Summit, and she was even named a Grace Hopper Scholar.
In addition, Sosa participated in the Pace Setters Leadership Program (which you can read more about), volunteering her time in the Dominican Republic to restart a non-profit foundation. “As a Latina with descent from the Dominican Republic, my aspiration is to become an entrepreneur who helps people in underdeveloped countries learn how to use technology to become self-sufficient,” she said.
Sosa’s interest in technology was initially sparked by her neighbor. “He was a military veteran who did computer science work on the battlefield,” she explained. When she was in high school, “he taught me how to uncover my Windows XP computer tower to reveal the RAM, CPU, and other parts [and] showed me the basics of IT troubleshooting so I [could] learn how to manage files, install applications, and set up printers.” The more she learned, the more she began to consider a career in computer science. And the rest is, as they say, history.
It was Professor Jean Coppola, PhD, however, who left an enormous impact on Sosa during her time at Pace. “She always encouraged me to push myself to achieve my fullest potential,” Sosa said, having participated in Coppola’s WestchesterSMART Mobile App Development Bowl two years in a row. While Coppola passed away last year, Sosa remembers her with a great deal of pride. “I will always be grateful for her incredible legacy of authentic enthusiasm for using technology to create meaningful impact on the aging population, all of her students, and everyone at Seidenberg and Pace,” she said.
Last year, Sosa was awarded a Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU) scholarship to teach mobile device literacy to three women’s associations in Senegal, West Africa. She used video tutorials in AppliCafé, an Android app, in order to connect with her students. “It [was] inspiring to see how independent and hardworking these women are despite having limited resources,” she said. “With AppliCafé, [they] can acquire the skills they need to earn jobs in their areas of interest and provide a better quality of life.”
She even blogged about her experience, and as it turns out? Sosa is quite the talented writer, too—and not just of code. “I think the style, manner, and tone of words [can help] deliver an important message,” she told us, naming Shakespeare as one of her favorite authors. Her personal blog, Tech Bytes for Women, is where she documents all her latest adventures in tech, including her latest internship this past summer.
Sosa worked as a software engineering intern for IBM collaborating on projects; attending workshops in Cloud development, Agile, and Design Thinking; and helping to significantly save time for their team of engineers. “We coded a Production Log Analyzer in Java that reduced massive log files to shorter and cleaner documents,” Sosa explained. “The program [was] connected to a Slack bot and included a dashboard for archiving logs and generating Watson insights.” Sosa went on to describe the level of extensive AI research involved in the project, and how they integrated multiple APIs and Java dependencies.
If all of that sounds really complicated? It is, but Sosa hopes to encourage young girls to enter into the tech industry by writing a book someday. “I would like to inspire women to feel empowered to go beyond their own experiences and to let society know that women are the most valuable assets for solving more real-world problems.”
When Sosa unplugs for the day, you can find her painting, drawing, writing poetry, playing piano, doing yoga, or crocheting. You can check out her handmade creations on her portfolio.
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