spitting image of a Barnard student learning this news

me, trying to register for the career fair

We love to hate on career fairs but have to admit they’re pretty useful for finding that summer internship you thought was hopeless, or at least snagging a free water bottle (or five). Deputy Editor Mia Lindheimer noticed something a little fishy about CCE’s Engineering Career Fair, and she’s here to call them out. 

If you’re in tech, just really want a job no matter how irrelevant, or just wanted some free Google swag, you probably went to Barnard’s “Women in Technology Conference and Career Fair” two weeks ago. After all, it was advertised all around campus, complete with email invites sent to the entire Columbia student body, and some of the biggest names in tech were there. And if you went, you probably wondered: Am I in the right place? Why are there so many dudes here? Yes, you were in the right place, and you were probably lucky if you could get a chance to talk to the recruiters at Square and Google by pushing through all the boys swarmed around their tables. Did the guys even notice that the mailing lists they were signing up for were all titled “Women in Tech”? Probably not. After all, we’re all just trying to get a job– props to them for making the effort.

Still, I was excited to see yet another career fair popping up on campus: CCE’s Engineering Career Fair, this Friday. I wanted a tech internship just as bad as those boys at the Barnard Conference. Going to the CCE fair would be intimidating, and there’d probably be even more guys there than at the Women in Tech Conference, but there would also be different companies and therefore more opportunities to find out about available internships and programs. While I was taking a quick skim over the event description to find the registration link, I noticed a heavily astrixed condition:

***This fair is open to Columbia University students and alumni from the following schools only***

Columbia College
General Studies
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
School of the Arts

So I guess there is no registration link for me, a Barnard student, clearly only interested in the humanities. Why would a woman be interested in engineering? Unthinkable.

Ok, so there are plenty of very deserving women at CC, GS, SEAS, etc., but we have to wonder what took Barnard off this list. Sure, we’d understand if Barnard was so cruel as to shut its doors to CC students during the Women in Tech conference, but this seems a little uncalled for. Barnard students can major in Computer Science just like anybody at CC can, and are therefore are just as qualified for any Software Engineering internship opportunities at the career fair.

It’s no wonder women have trouble getting into STEM if they aren’t allowed to the career fair in the first place– especially when their own fair is swarming with guys who have been coding since they were two. There are simply enough roadblocks for Barnard students hoping to major in Computer Science or related fields, ranging from a single advisor for all Barnard CS students to simply not being allowed into career fairs such as this. We’d love to see Columbia try to help change that, starting with equal opportunity.

Update: Computer Science Student Services Advising Team has worked with CCE and secured tickets to the Engineering Career Fair for declared Barnard Computer Science majors. If you’re a declared Barnard Computer Science student, your ticket should be in your email inbox now. Thanks CS Student Services Advising Team!