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UC women rock IT: Celebrating UCOP women in technology

Every year, in celebration of International Women’s History Month, the systemwide UC Women in Technology Committee features women IT professionals throughout UC whose work sustains the technology so essential to everyone’s work at the university — from administrators to researchers and clinical staff. Every location WIT group submits one woman or team of women to recognize in the systemwide article, and this year’s UCOP nomination was Marisa Strong from the California Digital Library.

Although each location can only nominate one woman to recognize in the systemwide article, the UCOP WIT committee would like to share a few additional women colleagues alongside Marisa, who are making a big impact throughout UCOP IT. Explore their stories below, then let them know that you appreciate their work!

Marisa Strong
Applications Development Manager, UC Curation Center, California Digital Library (CDL)

Applications Development Manager Marisa Strong

Researchers worldwide have Marissa Strong to thank for creating tools that lighten their day-to-day administrative duties: Using her team’s DMPTool, they can easily record their adherence to the rules and regulations that surround gathering and storing data. Her team’s Dryad platform allows them to easily gather, store and publish their data. And, if they have objects they need to track — from bones to potsherd to articles — they can rely on permanent, web-accessible identifiers through her team’s EZID system. These are just a few of the tools the eight-person UC Curation Center team produces under Marisa’s capable leadership, and despite her impressive workload, Marisa always finds time to help make the world a better place. She has championed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at every level while serving on the UCOP and CDL DEI advisory committees and UCOP Anti-Racism Task Force. She served on the President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women, chairing the Gender Equity Committee — an experience she leveraged to elevate her team and the CDL. If there is an odd job that would make UCOP or CDL a better place to work, Marisa is the first to tackle it. In other words, Marisa rocks!

The outdoors and adventures with friends and family hold a special place in Marisa’s heart, especially cycling and hiking. In her spare time, she channels her energy into volunteering — something she is deeply passionate about. Currently, Marisa serves as head coach for a local middle school mountain biking team, where she introduces children to the joys of biking. She proudly holds the role of assistant scoutmaster for her local Scout troop, leading adventurous outdoor activities including camping, hiking, backpacking and even scaling the heights of Mt. Ritter!

Gergana Tsvetkovas
Senior Project Manager, Information Technology Services (ITS)

Gergana Tsvetkova by the Golden Gate Bridge

Senior Project Manager Gergana Tsvetkova

The Redwood Pension System is a massive enterprise, providing retirement services to all current and future University of California retirees at all locations. Gergana Tsvetkova led the Redwood hosting migration from an external vendor to UCOP/Amazon Web Services — a project that involved more than 22 third-party vendor integrations, 120 interface files and nine million documents. To say this effort was complex is an understatement! Gergana used her strategic prowess to navigate challenges seamlessly, breaking down complexities into manageable tasks. Effective communication, adaptability and a commitment to teamwork defined her leadership. The project’s success is a testament to her unparalleled dedication and skill, demonstrating that with a wonderful project manager at the helm, even the most formidable projects can be triumphantly navigated.

In her time outside of work, Gergana loves being with her five-year-old son and rediscovering the world through his eyes. She also loves travelling to new places and experiencing new cultures and cuisines. Her favorite time of the year is the winter, as she enjoys skiing and being in the mountains. When she’s not on the slopes, you can find her hiking or walking near the ocean.

Priya Mishra
Application Programmer, Graduate, Undergraduate and Equity Affairs (GUEA)

Priya Mishra cuddling with her child

Application Programmer Priya Mishra

Priya is an exceptional developer who is well-known for making an impact throughout the university. One of her most celebrated achievements is the UC Online Cross-Campus Enrollment System Outage (CCESO), which has revolutionized the way campus system downtimes are handled. Before the CCESO, thousands of prospective and students would encounter errors if they tried to apply for admission, register for classes or update their accounts during a campus outage. Thanks to Priya’s efforts, these downtime requests are now queued to ensure a seamless process. Another significant achievement was Priya’s role in implementing UC’s Gender Recognition and Lived Name (GRLN) policy, during which time she worked tirelessly to incorporate new necessary fields in online course systems across all campuses. Priya’s work has ensured that individuals feel more welcome and accepted, aligning perfectly with UC’s mission. Both of these challenging projects required Priya to collaborate closely with campuses, showcasing her exceptional development skills and dedication, as well as her ability to network and build strong partnerships. Remarkably, she managed all this while being a new mother!

In her time outside of work, Priya loves to cook and has a talent for turning people who think they don’t like Indian food into connoisseurs. One of our favorite stories about Priya’s culinary talents is the time she participated in a food-tasting showcase. News of her delicious curry spread so quickly amongst attendees that there was a huge line to try her food; some people even broke the showcase rule to get multiple helpings!

Priya is also a dancer and choreographer for whom dancing is a form of meditation and relaxation. She organized the first flash mob at UCLA’s staff picnic by coordinating, teaching and choreographing a dance routine with more than 20 participants — and then hundreds of others joined the fun!

Christine Kim
Product Manager, Archives, CDL

Christine Kim headshot

Project Manager Christine Kim

In 2023, UCOP privacy concerns with Google Analytics necessitated that we implement an entirely new solution within six months to track and share usage data for CDL websites. This task that was much easier to envision than execute, but Christine Kim — who is also a champion for our cultural heritage organizational partners — jumped in to become an expert on our chosen alternative, Matomo. Undaunted by the challenge and gaining knowledge from scratch, Christine quickly devised a powerful and intuitive web analytics reporting dashboard for the CDL, as well as for the Online Archive of California and Calisphere — services that provide broad, public access to digital collections contributed by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage organizations throughout California. Making this accomplishment even more remarkable is that her dashboards are adaptable across many CDL websites, saving countless staff hours!

When Christine is not immersed in her laptop, you’ll likely find her hanging out with her two cats, playing the piano or training at the climbing gym. Christine thrives in the wilderness — from climbing mountains to working on her boulder projects, backpacking or skiing, she has all the seasons covered. Christine is also known for her campfire cooking skills. Her signature dish is a veggie pot pie baked in a Dutch oven over the fire — yum!

About the UC Women in Technology Committee

The University of California Women in Technology Committee (UC WIT) is a self-chartered, independent entity that promotes a supportive, inclusive environment to advance the professional goals and aspirations of UC women in technology. To fulfill this mission, the committee pursues initiatives at the university-wide level, leveraging and supporting the work of location-based WIT committees and partnering with other leadership and systemwide committees. Read more about the UC WIT.

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