Women in Technology Spotlight: Renee Drobish

Senior software engineer

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I attended Drexel University where I received my undergraduate degree in Mathematics. Afterwards, I went to Penn State and received my masters in Engineering Science with a concentration in Computer Science.

I’ve been able to venture along three different career paths. First, I worked as a software engineer in the process control industry where I received a software patent entitled “Method for Controlling Failover between Redundant Network Interface Modules”. Next, I became a professor at Penn State Abington and started teaching Information Science and Computer Science courses. Finally, I entered the financial market working at a small financial company, eventually making my way to Ascensus.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

After speaking with a recruiter, I looked at Ascensus’ LinkedIn page to learn more about the company. While I was searching around, I realized that one of my previous students was currently employed here. I spoke with my former student about the company, and he had great things to say, so I accepted the job. It’s funny because, when I started, my student was assigned to be my mentor. We worked in the same department for my first two and a half years, and I’m now beginning my fifth year with Ascensus.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

From a young age, I took an interest in math. Although I loved math, I knew that I did not want to be a math teacher. That opened my eyes to the world of Computer Science.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

At my previous place of employment, each team was separated by department. Although we worked on projects together, we were never working on the same team. Here at Ascensus, our teams are made up of various workers. Each team has developers, quality engineers, project managers, project owners, etc. and we collaborate on various projects. This environment is so different than any other work place I know of. I also feel like there are more women in Ascensus’ IT department than any other IT department I previously worked in.

What advice would you give someone who wants to land a job in the technology field?

Always be willing to learn new things by keeping up-to-date with technology. Use the internet to read articles and explore technical sites and learning sites. You can even use YouTube to find videos about Microsoft Office and programming.

What woman is your biggest inspiration and why?

This is a hard question, because there are a few women who have inspired me. My mother was a hardworking and independent business woman. She endured many challenges throughout her life, including surviving the Holocaust. I also really admire a woman named Ada King. She’s known to be the first computer programmer, which is interesting because now IT is a male-dominated field.

Did anyone or anything help you to get to where you are today?

My parents helped me establish myself by encouraging me to go to college. I was the first one in my family to attend college, and they told me I could go to school for whatever I wanted.
Also, my husband encouraged me to keep up with all of my work throughout graduate school.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save?

Working at Ascensus has truly showed me how important it is to save for the future. I always had been saving before I worked here, but ever since I started my career at Ascensus I’ve continued to grow my savings immensely. I also have learned a lot about retirement that I never knew before, which has helped me determine my own 401(k) savings strategies.