Dominika Opoka Wins CEWiT’s Outstanding Student Leadership Award

By Ellen Glover

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dominika Opoka, who has been a dedicated member and intern at CEWiT for almost two years, was awarded the Outstanding Student Leadership Award, an honor presented annually to an individual who has significantly impacted and encouraged peers and students, exemplified leadership skills, and served as a strong advocate for women in technology.

Opoka, a senior, did not anticipate getting any award when she was proclaimed the recipient at the CEWiT Summit Banquet.

“I was completely caught off guard,” said Opoka. “They had such nice things to say about me that there were tears in my eyes. It’s nice to get recognition for the work you do so I was very humbled by that.” Opoka has a long and extensive involvement with CEWiT. She started as the Treasurer for Women Empowering Success in Technology (WESiT) in the Fall of 2015. The next semester, she returned to lead the transition from WESiT to what is currently known as the CEWiT Student Alliance, which is the umbrella organization for the CEWiT Student Interest Groups. Along with continuing to serve as the group’s Treasurer, she also became a Student Ambassador this semester in order to raise awareness about CEWiT on campus. One of her biggest accomplishments with CEWiT was the planning and organization of the October screening of “She Started It,” a film that looks into the roots of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship and documents the journey of five female business owners. She also arranged to have Nora Poggi, the film’s producer and director to come to IU for a discussion following the film.

“For as long as I’ve known her, Dominka has been a huge advocate for women supporting women,” said colleague Evie Tsarnas. “I see first-first hand all the extra hours she puts into CEWiT, and I can definitely say that she goes above and beyond to make great things happen.”

Opoka says that, while she has given a lot of her time and attention to it, CEWiT has also given her a lot in return. As a high school student, she was bullied a lot by her female classmates, so she values the supportive and positive relationships she has built with women since coming to CEWiT.

“Women are really powerful, they can either lift you up or tear you down,” said Opoka. “That is why CEWiT is so great because all of these women come from different backgrounds and they work together to achieve something.”

Opoka also credits her time at CEWiT for helping her get a job as a tech analyst at JP Morgan Chase, which she will begin in June.

Even when she leaves IU and CEWiT to start her new chapter in her tech career, she encourages the next group of women to join CEWiT and pursue their passions in tech.

“Don’t be discouraged that you may be the only woman in the office or even in your class,” said Opoka. “Women are smart and they can do anything they set their mind towards, don’t let anybody tell you differently.”