WiCSE Helped Alumna Find Confidence and a Career

Noeli Murrietta (BS ’17), a technical director at DreamWorks Animation, says the Women in Computer Science and Engineering (WiCSE) program at Cal State Fullerton was an important stepping stone to her career.

Female programmer sitting in front of two computer screens

Though she wasn’t part of the Women in Computer Science and Engineering (WiCSE) program for very long, Noeli Murrietta (BS ’17) says it made a huge impact on her during a time when she was struggling with insecurity and self-doubt.

Now a technical director at DreamWorks Animation, Murrietta first became involved with WiCSE when she was invited to the program’s site visits to DreamWorks and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“At the time, my imposter syndrome felt like it was growing rapidly, and my lack of confidence was preventing me from applying to jobs,” she says. “These visits helped prepare me for my current job because I learned a lot about the roles at the company and I was able to develop my networking skills by talking to employees in a welcoming, no-pressure environment.”

Now, even more women students will have the opportunity to be part of the innovative program, which provides a supportive environment for women engineering and computer science students to help them:

  • Learn about on-campus programs and services
  • Access tutoring
  • Hear advice and insights about emerging fields from ECS and WiCSE alumnae
  • Participate in interdisciplinary workshops and visits to companies that hire engineers and computer scientists

In December 2021, WiCSE received a pivotal Bank of America grant of $325,000, which helped establish the program’s $500,000 endowment that ensures funding in perpetuity. This endowment expands the program from two to four years and triples the number of students served.

Murrietta says her WiCSE experience was incredibly valuable, and she believes it will help many young women scientists and engineers as they prepare to embark on their careers. It was an important stepping stone for Murrietta: It was during the WiCSE-coordinated visits that she talked with peers about the struggles and fears she had about her future.

At a recruiting event later that year, she reconnected with a DreamWorker she met during one of these visits. That connection helped her land her current job.

“Being involved in WiCSE helped grow my confidence and my motivation to succeed in this field,” Murrietta says. “The women involved are part of a reliable community that will encourage you, help you squash self-doubt, and provide great opportunities to expand your network, which can be a daunting task to take on alone.”

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