Monday, June 4, 2018
Andrea Mascher, Sarah Mascher Wallace, and Steve Fleagle

Andrea Mascher, Lead Database Administrator in Administrative Information Systems (AIS) and Sarah Mascher Wallace, Application Developer in Enterprise Services (ES), jointly received the 2018 Information Technology Leadership Award in recognition of their contributions to the university’s IT community and the surrounding areas.

The award, co-sponsored by the IT Leadership Development Team and Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Steve Fleagle, was presented at the annual University of Iowa Tech Forum, attended by over 450 IT professionals May 22 at the Iowa Memorial Union.  

Mascher joined AIS in 2014 as a senior database administrator. Prior to AIS, she worked at Dignity Health in Phoenix, Arizona, and at the UI as an electronic voting researcher from 2007 to 2010 in the computer science department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Mascher Wallace started as an application programmer analyst in ES in 2015. Prior to that, she worked an IT support analyst for the Help Desk. As a student, she worked at the Help Desk and assisted senior researchers on the Large Hadron Collider project.

The sisters won for their leadership and involvement in campus and community organizations and activities, including the UI Women in Technology (WIT) and the Iowa Tech Chicks.

As leaders of WIT, they seek opportunities to engage with women working in or pursuing IT careers. They established a listserv, wiki, reading group, and library for WIT, arrange guest speakers, connect with similar groups at peer schools, and encouraged involvement in the OneIT strategic planning process.

They have worked tirelessly to ensure the UI is a welcoming place for everyone. This year they won a Catalyst Seed Grant from the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer that covered a site license to screen the documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap (or login to view from off-campus). They organized screenings and panel discussions for campus audiences and K-12 students, demonstrating exceptional leadership through initiative, engagement, and impact.  

The Tech Chicks organize events to foster STEM skills in youth, specifically young girls, such as Girls Tech Career Day, a flashlight-building event at the STEAM Fab Lab, and coding events.

Mascher Wallace is also on the board of the local Junior Roller Derby team, which has no gender limitations, and will be a staff representative on the Information Technology Advisory Charter Committee starting in September 2018. Mascher is on the board of the Iowa Data Professionals Association and is a voting member of the UI Council on the Status of Women, representing professional and scientific staff.  

In accepting the award, the sisters shared that it was their hope that “one day, everyone in this room and online has the opportunity to be part of this because we can all prioritize diversity and contribute to building an Inclusive IT community for all identities. We can make a difference. We all have the ‘right stuff’ to affect change, whether we realize it or not.”  

They challenged everyone to do “just one thing to foster improvement. It can be small. It can be easy. If each of us does just one thing a day, that could be thousands of times that we as a group of IT professionals are leaders in less than a week—which is kinda awesome to think about.”