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WITI San Diego Regional Network
It’s Elementary San Diego! Teach More Girls to Code

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
5:00-7:30 PM

It’s elementary! One solution to San Diego’s chronic shortage of trained computer programmers and analysts is simple: Teach more girls to code.

Join us for an eye-opening conversation with San Diego educators and women technology executives about multiple career paths for women with coding and problem solving skills. This is a must-attend program for anyone interested in student education, the San Diego workforce, and the region’s economic health.

To address San Diego’s chronic shortage of computer programmers and analysts, a coalition of San Diego educators and business leaders is exploring options to teach software coding and critical thinking skills to students at all levels. And, because young women are especially under-represented in the technology/computer science field, they are targets of a newly formed non-profit, GirlTECH San Diego, aimed at providing coding classes to girls in middle school and high school.

Panel Speakers:

Moderator: Barbara Bry, COO, Blackbird Ventures
Panelist: Natasha Balac, Director, SDSC Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE)
Panelist: Helen Beran, Director Global Information Services, Illumina
Panelist: Srilekha Krishnamurthy, Director of Engineering, Corporate Product Security Group (CPSG), Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.


This event benefits GirlTECH San Diego, a non-profit collaborative that launches in Spring 2014 with high school and community center clubs, and a summer academy. The collaborative includes four local universities: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego; San Diego State University; University of San Diego; and Point Loma-Nazarene University along with numerous professional organizations and private businesses, GirlTECH San Diego will provide hands-on computing opportunities for young women in grades 6-12. www.girltechsandiego.org

About Our Speaker(s)

Bio of Barbara Bry:

Barbara Bry
is a serial for-profit and non-profit entrepreneur who currently serves as the chief operating officer of Blackbird Ventures that invests in and incubates early stage technology companies. In addition, she and her husband Neil Senturia teach entrepreneurship at UC San Diego and write a weekly column on entrepreneurship for U-T San Diego.

In the for-profit area, she was on the founding team of Provide Commerce-Proflowers.com and Atcom/Info, a software company that pioneered high-speed Internet access in hotel rooms. In the non-profit area, she is the founder of San Diego Athena, which has more than 500 members and is the leading professional organization for women in the San Diego technology and life sciences community, and she is the founder of Run Women Run that supports San Diego women for elected and appointed offices.

Bio of Natasha Balac:

Natasha Balac
is the Director of Predictive Analytics Center of Excellence at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD encompassing many Big Data data mining projects including the Medical School, Smart Energy Grid, and Fraud detection. Natasha received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University with an emphasis in Machine Learning from large data sets. Previously, she has been working on mining, analytics and bioinformatics in the biotech industry. She has collaborated, managed and directed a number of large government, industry and research funded projects including the CMMS, NSF, NIH and CEC funding agencies.

Bio of Helen Beran:

Helen Beran
is the Director of Global Information Systems at Illumina, a leading developer and manufacturer of life science tools and integrated systems for the large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function. Helen leads the Business Solutions team and is responsible for delivering enterprise applications and data services that help Illumina run its business. Before joining Illumina, Helen led various information technology and product development functions at Intuit including software development, operations and program management for TurboTax, the leading online and mobile tax preparation software.

Prior to Intuit, Helen spent ten years at NCR as a software engineer and engineering manager, developing core operating system services and ecommerce products for NCR UNIX platforms. She began her career as a technical support engineer and earned her degree from The University of Birmingham in England.
Bio of Srilekha Krishnamurthy:

Srilekha Krishnamurthy
is a Director of Engineering at the Corporate Product Security Group (QPSI) at Qualcomm Technologies Inc. Within QPSI, she runs the product security business unit strategy team. In this role, she is responsible for addressing the mid to long term product security needs of all Qualcomm business units and identifying new areas of security/business risk. Srilekha started at Qualcomm as an intern and has been with the company for over 9 years. She is a working mother with 2 small children and was recently recognized by the Working Mother magazine as Qualcomm’s working mother for the year 2013. Prior to Qualcomm, she worked in the digital security and forensics group of Cognizant Technology Solutions as well as a startup PKI products company. In these roles, she was involved in security product development and security consulting. Srilekha holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

Event Date and Venue

This event will be held from 5:00-7:30 PM on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at:

    Qualcomm Hall
    5775 Morehouse Drive
    San Diego, California 92121



Registration: 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Program: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Hosted Reception: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Pre-registration for this event is closed, but on-site registrations will be accepted.
Limited on-site registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For information regarding on-site registration, please contact Jennifer Beckey ([email protected]).

About Our Sponsor(s)

About Our Partner(s)


WITI San Diego (www.witi.com/sandiego)

QWISE (Qualcomm Women in Science & Engineering)

Software San Diego (www.softwaresd.org)

CONNECT (www.connect.org)

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (www.sandiegobusiness.org)

Contact Us

For more info regarding registration or event details, please contact Jennifer Beckey ([email protected]).

For more details about pre-registration, contact Tech Support.