Major: Information Technology 
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
This summer, Mason information technology major Dolica Gopisetty had her head in the clouds—cloud computing, that is. In June, Gopisetty was on a panel of students discussing cloud computing at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C. Those at Amazon were so impressed that they invited her to be a keynote speaker at AWS’s “IMAGINE: A Better World, A Global Education” conference in Seattle, Washington. She was the only student among the eight keynote speakers appearing.
Getting Certified: When Gopisetty attended an on-campus career event during her first year at Mason, one of the industry professionals mentioned cloud computing. Gopisetty was unsure of what the term meant and set out to educate herself about the topic. “That’s where my journey started. I did a whole lot of research and saw that AWS, being [the] leading cloud computing service, offered certifications.” She decided to pursue her certification in cloud computing in addition to her regular classes on campus. “I often think about how far I have gotten due to that one day and one person. I will always be thankful for showing me a direction in life.”
Opportunity Knocks: Gopisetty says she likes to attend Mason’s career fairs to hone her job-hunting skills and hand out her resume. One of those resumes led to her summer job as a software development engineer intern at Gannett and USA Today. “It was a dream come true. They gave me an opportunity when no other company did. I’ll always be grateful for them.”
Always Busy: During the academic year, Gopisetty works on campus as a technical writer for Information Technology Services . She is also president of the student organization Association of Engineers. Outside of Mason, she enjoys mentoring young girls on technology topics when she can. One piece of advice she gives the girls: Just do it. In many of her classes, Gopisetty says there are often more men than women, and she had to force herself to speak up—even if she wasn’t feeling particularly confident. “Eventually you’ll feel it. That’s what happened to me. I think that’s what helped me get to where I am. And that’s what I tell those girls: ‘You can do it.’”
Love at First Sight: Gopisetty received acceptances from several Virginia universities, but when she came Mason for campus visit, she fell in love—before her family had even parked the car. “We put our blinkers on and got out. I was like, this is it.” She admits she did do some research before the visit, and the professional advantages of being in Northern Virginia in terms of the nearby companies also made a huge impression.
STEM in Her Family Tree: Gopisetty was born in South India and immigrated to the United States at the age of 7. She comes from a family of educators. Her mother and grandfather are math teachers. She credits her enthusiasm for technology to her father, who is a sound engineer. “He’s hardware, and I’m software,” she says. “All technology fascinated me, so I decided that if technology is the future, that’s where I want to be.”
Foodie at Heart: Gopisetty has a penchant for Indian food. “I can go a week without Indian food, but the eighth day I need it.” She also enjoys cooking for friends. “I tell my friends, that if they want to have something like they had at my house, to tell the restaurant you want them to make it ‘Indian style,’ and they’ll do it.”
What Motivates Her: “My parents always encourage me to be a trendsetter, not a follower, so I always wanted to be unique in some way. I think that one of the motivations for me to get the [cloud computing] certification is because, when I’m looking at my peers, I always think about what is going to set me apart. I think the certification does that, and it has changed my career trajectory.”