UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many alumni can say that the Penn State legacy runs in their family, but few can say that they graduated from the same college as their sibling. Sisters Diana Lopez Long and Maria Umana Cody graduated from the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology with future careers in mind.
In fall 2000, Diana moved from crowded New York City to the more rural State College to join the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). She knew she wanted a career in which she would constantly learn new skills, but she hadn't found the perfect fit yet. After meeting with her DUS adviser, she learned of a new major being offered: information sciences and technology.
“After my first intro class, I knew that was it for me,” said Diana. “IST offered me the opportunity to collaborate with real, well-known companies and work on real projects.”
Hands-on experience as an undergraduate prepared Diana for the rest of her education after earning her bachelor’s degree in 2004. She went on to earn her master’s degree in information science at Penn State Great Valley. Most of her cohorts there were working professionals, so the timelines and assignments fit their lives.
Six years later, Maria was searching for the next stop in her academic journey after high school. After touring Penn State, she knew that the large university was the right fit. Most importantly, she had her sister's guidance in choosing a major.
“I knew I wanted to do something cool, like be an FBI agent or a lawyer, but there was no specific major for that,” said Maria, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2014. “Diana really pushed IST, so I looked into it. During my tour, they introduced security and risk analysis and how this would be a great avenue for future law students or a pathway for government work.”
Both sisters joined activities at IST and Penn State that would build friendships and connections. Diana held leadership positions in Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and the National Hispanic Business Association, while Maria also joined Sigma Lambda Gamma, Women in Information Sciences and Technology (WIST) and SRA Club.
Although they didn’t go to school at the same time, Maria found that the College of IST provided her the same support and opportunities it did for Diana 10 years prior. From exclusive computer labs and classrooms to career fairs, the College of IST was an essential part in both sisters finding their future professions.
“I made sure to attend the career fairs. It gave me the opportunity to practice my elevator speech and nail it down before applying to roles I really cared about,” said Maria. “I ended up getting an internship after my sophomore year with Johnson & Johnson.”
“I was able to advise [Maria] while she navigated the internship search and her first job role search out of school,” added Diana. “She has exposed me to a different part of the industry I haven't had access to in my career path, so I get to learn from her experience as well.”