This story originally appeared in IT Connections’ 2018 summer issue.

Kalina Dunn, GlobalNOC network engineer, is one of five awardees selected for the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program.

WINS is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy/Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). Each year the program selects five to eight qualified candidates from early to mid-career applicants across the country to join the volunteer workforce in constructing SCinet, the Supercomputing Conference‘s dedicated high-performance research network.

A lifelong Bloomington resident, Dunn transferred her Ivy Tech credits to IUPUI toward a degree in computer information technology with a focus in networking systems. After taking a break to start her family, Dunn is now finishing up her degree.

Dunn was thrilled to have been chosen as a WINS recipient, although a career in computing wasn’t initially on her radar. “I never expected to pursue IT, but I am more than pleasantly surprised with how everything has worked out,” she said. After learning about a temporary position in GlobalNOC through her father, a network analyst at IU, she got the job and eventually worked her way from temp to part time to her current position as senior network engineer within the GlobalNOC supporting regional networks.

As one of a growing number of women in IT, Dunn said she always felt supported by IU and GlobalNOC. “My managers and fellow engineers were happy to include me and provide me with learning opportunities,” she said. Her advice to other women in the field? “Don’t shy away from utilizing your strengths and perspectives even if they don’t streamline with the norm. The unique strengths and perspectives add to the success and productivity of a team.”

Now Dunn is looking forward to working with the SCinet routing team at SC18 in Dallas. “This is an amazing opportunity that I can’t wait to be a part of,” she said. “I hope that my being awarded one of the WINS grants this year will spread awareness of this opportunity and encourage other women to apply in future years.”