June 11, 2013
Growing up in Passaic, NJ, Vania Nettleford always had a passion for helping others with her technological savvy. Today, as a distinguished Computer Science major she has demonstrated entrepreneurial initiative that allowed her to turn a class project into a popular book exchange application, a talent for mobile software development that won her first prize in a Cordis Corporation competition, and a work ethic that allows her to juggle challenging coursework with cooperative education placements at leading medical equipment companies. Throughout all this success, Vania still relishes the opportunity to apply her growing technological expertise to help patients get the best medical care possible.
As Vania dreams of leveraging technology to help others, her impressive industry experience and the tradition of excellence at Stevens have provided her with the optimal environment to succeed. She says, “Most employers know that they will get quality graduates from Stevens, and that’s a great advantage as I head into the work force. Also, because it’s a smaller school, you find more personally attentive professors than you might at a larger university.”
“Vania’s passion for Computer Science and her inquisitive entrepreneurial nature promise to lead her toward great success in the field,” says Professor Steven Gabarró of the Department of Computer Science. “I do have high hopes for her and look forward her future achievements.”
In her Software Development class last year, she and a classmate were able to create an innovative iOS App that enabled fellow students to exchange used college textbooks. The Stevens Book Exchange App, which is available on iTunes, is designed to instantly alert users when a book is requested for purchase and give students an up-to-date list of books for sale.
In addition, Vania recently teamed with Biomedical Engineering majors Ruchika Sharma and Jen Trinh to compete in the 2013 University Case Competition sponsored by the Cordis Corporation, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The team won the grand prize of $2,000 for their solution to a real-world problem faced by Cordis sales representatives in the field—since product pricing and contracting processes are constantly in flux, sales representatives need fast, intuitive access to the most up-to-date information. The winning entry by the Stevens team, the Strategic Pricing Aide (SPA), is a user-friendly mobile App that streamlines the process of generating product price quotes and contracts for customers, thus providing a tremendous competitive advantage in an environment where multiple firms are bidding for a customer’s patronage. Cordis is also evaluating the possibility of further development based on SPA.
Her technological expertise has become a valuable asset for companies in her chosen field, and her resume already includes experience testing software for medical devices at Mindray North America and conducting technical support at Wytech Inustries, a manufacturer of wiring and tubing components for the medical industry.
As one of many next-generation entrepreneurs, Vania has already demonstrated a talent for substantive innovation that benefits society. However, it was only after personal tragedy that she fully resolved to pursue a career developing software to support medical care. In January of 2012, Vania was informed that her father had experienced a stroke and would have to undergo many physical therapy sessions during his recovery. Vania is now inspired to apply all that she is learning in an effort to help her father and others in the recovery process. “I have seen mobile Apps that help with exercise and so I think that physical therapy apps should not be far behind.” Recovery from a stroke can take months but Vania believes that technology can be leveraged to reduce the amount of time that people have to spend in the hospital. She envisages an application that uses motion detection and mobile communications to enable remote physical therapy and aid in recovery.
In addition to her academic and professional distinctions, Vania is a regular attendee of the New Jersey Tech Meetup and the Mobile Application Developers of New Jersey. She is also one of the founding members of the Theta Phi Alpha Sorority on the Stevens campus. Through her sorority, she has participated in charity efforts such as the House that Theta Phi Alpha Built—a program that provides underprivileged children with food, clothing and school supplies—and Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis – an organization that supports patient programs, enhances professional education efforts, and propels critical research for a cure for digestive diseases.
Interested in finding out how you can apply your knowledge to make a difference in the world? Visit our Computer Science Department and check out the offices of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions to enroll!