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Jennifer Emery, Computer Science, Undergraduate

Computer science student takes charge of her IUPUI legacy

Jennifer Emery | Computer Science, Undergraduate | Department of Computer & Information Science Software engineer. NCAA Division I athlete. LGBTQ advocate. Jennifer Emery is student who is taking charge of her time at IUPUI.

Emery’s impact on campus was recognized at the 2015 Harvey Milk Dinner where she received the Stonewall Award, an accolade that honors an individual for their engagement with and contributions to the IUPUI LGBTQ community. 

“Winning the Stonewall Award made it concrete for me that what I was doing as the LGBTQ Alliance vice president made a difference in a community that has always supported me,” Emery said. “I came out to my family a month or so before coming to IUPUI and their reactions were not great – joining the LGBTQ Student Alliance as a freshman helped me feel comfortable being myself.”

Strong IUPUI support systems and resources – from mock interview practice sessions with the School of Science PREPs office to tips from her mentor through the Advancing Women Mentoring Program on how to navigate the workforce and be a leader – also helped Emery achieve her goals as a computer scientist.

One of these achievements was securing a position as a software engineer for SmartFile, an Indianapolis tech company that she describes as a “dropbox for businesses.” At SmartFile, Emery works with both front-end programming to create elements that are visible to viewers—such as a download buttons—and back-end programming which makes front end elements work better or faster.

An IUPUI Science alumnus connected Emery with her position at SmartFile, but it was associate professor James Hill, Ph.D., who challenged her to learn how to think like a computer scientist – ready to tackle any problems that she will face as a software engineer.

“Dr. Hill’s classes prepared me for my position at SmartFile,” Emery said. “His assignments are hard but they taught me how to adapt and succeed outside of the classroom.”

Emery also succeeds outside of the classroom as an IUPUI cross country and track and field athlete. She is thankful that her head coach, Tony Daniels supports her and her team to do well both on and off the track.

“As IUPUI athletes we’re still allowed to be students, participate in other organizations and have difficult majors,” Emery said. “We want to win conferences but we’re going to get A’s and have well-rounded college experiences while we do it.”
Preparing to graduate in 2017, Emery looks forward to continuing to leave her mark on everything she does no matter what challenges may come.