Leadership spotlight: Johnneisha White


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Photo by Genevieve Humphreys

Sophomore Johnneisha White is president of Trinity University Women in Computing (TUWIC), resident assistant (RA) in C.W. Miller Hall, McNair Scholar and owner of a beta fish named Symón — and she’s also an Emerging Student Leader. The Emerging Student Leader award, given every year at the Student Leadership & Service Awards to recognize students making an impact on campus during their first years at Trinity, reflects White’s passion for the various student organizations and activities she participates in.

White was drawn to TUWIC during her first semester at Trinity when she found herself lacking a place where she could feel supported as a woman majoring in computer science.

“I was looking for a community that would really be a safe space because a lot of times as a woman in computing it can be very intimidating to walk into a room of males, and I was just having a very hard time with it,” White said.

Morgan King, junior and former TUWIC president, feels that White’s presence has strengthened the group’s connections with one another.

“Johnneisha is very social, and she’s got all of these ideas of how to get people talking to each other, how to stay in contact with other members of TUWIC, how to recruit people and things like that,” King said. “During her first days as president, she made a big group chat with all of [TUWIC] where we would share memes and talk, and she would send out reminders for events on campus. Generally, I think our club has gotten a little more tight-knit [with White’s leadership].”

White is now at the end of her first year as TUWIC president, and one of her biggest accomplishments to date has been helping to lead the annual Trinity Encouraging Computing for Her (TECH) camp — funded by the National Center for Women and Information Technology — which allows girls from San Antonio middle schools to come to Trinity on Saturdays for three weeks and learn about computing from TUWIC members.

“I really love doing this camp because I get to inspire other young girls and create the same safe space that women in computing helped me find,” White said.

This will be the fifth year that TUWIC has provided this experience but the first year that White has overseen the program’s organization.

“[White] is very organized and a really good teacher to the middle school girls,” said Delaney Johns, sophomore and treasurer of TUWIC.

White has also been able to cultivate meaningful relationships with residents younger than her, as an RA in Miller Hall in the first-year area.

“Right now, I have 17 people on my hall, and I would describe them as very outgoing and open. When you’re an RA, you expect your residents to be standoffish or shy, but my residents aren’t like that at all,” White said.

Over the year, White has enjoyed seeing her residents gradually adapt to Trinity life.

“When they first got here, [my residents] were like, ‘What’s Mabee? What is the Witt Center? What’s Tiger Bucks?’ and now they’re like, ‘Oh, I was just studying in the library for like five hours. I just planned my housing for next year.’ … It’s really amazing seeing them grow, and I’m excited [that] I’m going to be in the first-year area again next year, so I [can] get to see that growth.”

Drake Eggerss, a first-year who lives in Miller Hall where White is an RA, said that White is frequently someone that he and other residents go to for advice.

“I think that what makes [White] a good RA is that she really tries to get connected with your personal life — not in an overbearing way, but she asks how you’re doing and checks up on you,” Eggerss said. “I’m from San Antonio, but a lot of people come from out of state or even outside [of] the country, and I know homesickness is a big deal, and [White] really helps make you feel welcome on campus.”

The hall has an unofficial mascot: Symón the beta fish. Symón is White’s pet, but a number of Miller residents have also bonded with him.

“I think my residents have seen the way that I interact with my fish, and now three of them have fishes, and now we make little babysitting arrangements where we feed each other’s fish when someone is busy,” White said.

White is still deciding on what her future career in computing will look like, but she hopes that her summer internship in Atlanta as a software engineer with General Electric Power will help her decide.

“Computer science is such a broad field. I’m not really sure if I want to do data analytics or cybersecurity and stuff like that, but I’m hoping to narrow it down through internships,” White said.

Being a McNair Scholar has also enhanced White’s academic experience, as she currently aspires to get a PhD in computer science.

“I feel like it’s another essential community that I needed to have. All my life, I feel like I’ve been really focused on my education, so it’s just nice to have other people that share that same value,” White said.

White’s favorite aspect of her time at Trinity so far has been the different communities that she has found in the McNair program, TUWIC and the hall where she serves as an RA.

“I can find [communities] that [match] different aspects of my personality, like my love for education, my love for computing and gaming and techie things and my love for socializing and connecting with people,” White said.