Alannah Oleson
Alannah Oleson’s award led to a summer internship with Adobe in San Jose.

Alannah Oleson, undergraduate student in computer science at Oregon State University, was one of a handful of students from all over the world to win the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship. The scholarship acknowledges women who are improving technology and have demonstrated outreach for their community.

Oleson is helping to improve technology in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI) with Margaret Burnett, distinguished professor of computer science. Oleson is working on the GenderMag project which helps programmers to design gender inclusive software.

Her outreach to the community included mentoring two high school students through Saturday Academy, which is a program designed to help students from under-represented communities gain experience in STEM fields. She taught them how to program and what it is like to work on a research project. A couple of years after the summer-long program, Oleson saw one of her students at Oregon State going through engineering orientation. Oleson felt proud to see him choose to major in computer science after participating in the Saturday Academy program.

“To see him go from whatever he had overcome to being a computer scientist and feeling like I played a part in that was really cool,” Oleson said.

Scholarship winners are awarded $10,000 and a one-year creative cloud subscription; are assigned an Adobe research mentor; and are given an opportunity to interview for an Adobe internship. Oleson succeeded in receiving an Adobe internship and worked in San Jose, CA for 10 weeks on a research team this summer.

“All I had known was living in Roseburg, so the experience of being in the middle of the tech world was fantastic. It made me feel more confident in my career,” she said.

After the internship, Adobe decided to sponsor Oleson’s senior capstone project. In the future, Oleson hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction and eventually work in industry research.

Story by Raiza de Vera

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