Mason engineering student invited to speak at Amazon conference in Seattle

Dolica Gopisetty, an Information technology major, was the only college student among eight keynote speakers at the "IMAGINE: A Better World, A Global Education" conference. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

A George Mason University student who made a favorable first impression speaking publicly last month about her experience in cloud computing was invited by Amazon to share her story in Seattle with education leaders from around the globe.

Dolica Gopisetty, a rising senior information technology major from the Volgenau School of Engineering, was the only college student among eight keynote speakers at the “IMAGINE: A Better World, A Global Education” conference. The two-day conference, which ran this week, was hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the aim of bringing together university presidents, college administrators, superintendents and business executives from more than 40 countries to discuss future educational opportunities and how the AWS cloud can help unlock innovation.

“It’s really a great honor,” Gopisetty said prior to the conference. “I just want to make sure that I keep the audience interested. They’re giving me their valuable time, so I have to make it worth their while.”

Gopisetty, who is interning this summer as a software development engineer for Gannett/USA Today, turned more than a few heads during a panel appearance at the AWS Public Summit in June in Washington, D.C. One of six college students to appear on the panel, Gopisetty exuded confidence in demonstrating her extensive knowledge of cloud technology and detailing the challenges she’s faced as an female Indian American in a STEM field traditionally lacking diverse representation. Gopisetty is a strong proponent of seeing more females pursue STEM careers.

“I just hoped that I didn’t speak too much,” she said, “but I had so much to say.”

It was after hearing Gopisetty speak that Tiffany Harris, the student community manager for AWS Educate—Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning—reached out to her about making her first trip to the West Coast to share her story with a wider audience.

“She’s just an amazing, smart and poised young woman,” Harris said. “Everything she said was so well thought out. She was phenomenal.”

Gopisetty considers herself an activist for the tech community and an enthusiast for cloud technology. Just 21 years old, she’s already an AWS Certified Solutions Architect, a valued professional certification that attests to her high skill level in cloud computing, and she’s the president of Mason’s Association of Engineers.

Kammy Sanghera, an associate professor of information sciences and technology who serves as the executive director of the Volgenau School of Engineering’s STEM Outreach program, said she was thrilled to hear about Gopisetty’s opportunity.

“Our students are very accomplished and well rounded,” Sanghera said. “They do not surprise me when they are reaching for the best and representing Mason at various levels.”

Last month, Mason and Northern Virginia Community College announced plans for a new bachelor's degree program in cloud computing in partnership with Amazon Web Services. The new degree pathway will launch in fall 2020 as part of the ADVANCE Program, the NOVA/Mason partnership that streamlines the path to a four-year degree by eliminating traditional transfer obstacles, providing students with added coaching and financial incentives while highlighting pathways to high-demand careers.