Next Story

Finding community through 100+ Women Strong

By Lauren Winton

Published: Nov 2, 2021 11:05:00 AM

Anne-Marie Larson, Ornela Hogu, Piper Bedell Anne-Marie Larson, Ornela Hogu, Piper Bedell

For those female engineering graduates looking to give back to the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and help the next generation of Auburn Engineering women, 100+ Women Strong is the perfect outlet.

“I’ve always knew I wanted to give back to Auburn by helping students,” said Anne-Marie Larsen, ‘92 computer science. “I don’t have any children, and serving as a mentor is a way for me to have input in a young person’s life.”

As a software consultant for Nortridge Software, Larsen has plenty of advice for future engineering graduates. As a woman working in a male-dominated field, she hopes to help inspire additional female engineering students to pursue their engineering career goals.

Larsen currently mentors two students for the 100+ Women Strong program: Ornela Hogu and Piper Bedell.

“These young women are so bright and ambitious,” Larsen said. “They inspire me. Mentoring them is an exciting way to be a part of the Auburn Engineering experience that is happening today.”

For both Hogu and Bedell, having Larsen as a mentor has been a rewarding experience.

“I really appreciate Anne-Marie’s advice,” Bedell said. She’s studying computer science and software engineering and hopes to follow in Larsen’s footsteps.

“It’s inspiring to see someone in industry doing what I want to do, especially since Anne-Marie is also an Auburn graduate,” Bedell said. “From listening to her and hearing about her experiences in a room where she is often the only woman, it’s encouraging. It helps me to see myself in that role one day.”

Larsen takes time with both of her mentees, providing the kind of mentorship that works best for their situation in school and their career aspirations.

“We meet once a month. She’s been incredibly helpful in talking me through internship and networking opportunities,” Bedell said.

While Bedell and Larsen meet monthly, Larsen’s relationship with Hogu is a little different.

“Anne-Marie is a wonderful mentor,” Hogu said. “She’s available whenever I have questions for her. We don’t have a regular meeting time, but she’s been a tremendous resource for me whenever I do have questions or need advice or just want to talk.”

Hogu is a second-year student in the computer science and software engineering master’s degree program. She started her degree during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coming here for graduate school was actually my first time coming to the United States,” Hogu said. “I’m from Albania, and there are not many other Albanian students studying at Auburn. When I came here, I wanted to find a community and connect with people.”

100+ Women Strong was her lifeline.

“I learned about the tremendous 100+ Women Strong program and was paired with another mentor last year. She was tremendous, and then this year I’ve been working with Anne-Marie,” Hogu said. “The program really helped me network and find community here, especially when we were virtual.”

While the majority of both Bedell and Hogu’s mentorship relationship with Larsen has been during the pandemic, and most of their meetings took place over Zoom, they were all able to meet in August at the 100+ Women Strong Welcome Back event.

“It was so rewarding to meet both Ornela and Piper in person. I was able to go and get coffee with them both at separate times as their schedules allowed. They are both such strong students, strong women and I am constantly inspired by them,” Larsen said.

Through her service in 100+ Women Strong, Larsen hopes she has a positive impact on the talented engineering students she mentors. Listening to Hogu and Bedell, it’s clear Larsen already has.
Media Contact: Lauren Winton, lmw0090@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

Recent Headlines