Technology nurtures father-daughter bond

Many fathers and daughters share a love of sports, music and dancing, or the outdoors. John Rome and his daughter Annie first connected while sitting shoulder to shoulder in front of the computer. Technology was their language. They shared laughs over Excel and made memories while building servers.

John, the deputy chief information officer at ASU’s University Technology Office, shared his love of technology early on with both of his daughters, Annie and Maggie. Maggie will be graduating in May with a master’s degree in graphic information technology. Their mother is a nurse practitioner and is the not-so-tech-savvy member of the family, Annie says.

Annie is preparing to graduate this summer with concurrent degrees in business data analytics (BDA) and business sustainability from the W. P. Carey School of Business. She also received a Special Events Management certificate and a Knowledge Entrepreneurship & Innovation certificate.

Her dad taught her the basics of Excel and other programs, gradually getting into more complicated material until the two of them were using data visualization tools, and Annie was learning how to build Windows and Linux servers. 

“He’s been a huge influence on my career path and interest in the IT field,” Annie says. “He’s been an incredible mentor and has taught me things about analytics, business intelligence, and the IT world that I could have never learned in a classroom.” 

The feeling is mutual. John is a proud father. “Not only is she wicked smart, but her compassion for people, fight for sustainability, and other noble causes make her an amazing individual, and daughter,” John says.

Annie showed early signs of analytical skills, explains John. As evidenced by the visualization Annie made in grade school about her classmate’s after-school activities. The graph hangs in John’s office. “Her ability to conceptualize, analyze, visualize, and articulate data is pretty amazing. She is a very quick study,” he says. 

Annie combined the love of technology she got from her father, her knack for business, and her passion for sustainability and found a perfect fit at W. P. Carey. “I hope that I can combine analytics and sustainability to help companies make better business decisions based on these two areas that are often overlooked, but will be paramount in the years to come,” she says.

In addition to her course load, Annie is a student worker for the Business Intelligence and Analytics Team at ASU’s University Technology Office. She’s also working on developing a mobile app to do ASU identification cards. She pitched the idea and the director of strategic projects reached out to her to work on it. Annie is an advisor for the Sun Devil Support Network, too, educating students on sexual assault prevention and providing awareness on the issue. 

Being involved is important to Annie. She joined the Sigma Kappa sorority and actively participates in the group’s platform for Alzheimer’s research fundraising. It’s a cause close to Annie’s heart, as her grandmother passed away from the disease last year. Annie’s grandma was a big role model in her life, and Annie has raised approximately $4,000 in her grandma’s name for Alzheimer’s care, support, research, and awareness. She participates in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year and has been asked to be on the planning committee for the Phoenix walk this November.

Her sorority sisters have become partners in her cause, and she is grateful for the friendships. Her only regret is that she didn’t join the sorority sooner, rushing to join it her junior year.

“My best piece of advice would be to get involved right away. Don’t be afraid to try on multiple things to see what works best for you and to be open-minded,” Annie says. “The best way to make your college experience more enjoyable is to surround yourself with a network of people with similar interests, goals, and aspirations.”

Annie said she’s learned a lot in her four years in college and what she’s gained is immeasurable. “During my time at ASU, I have learned that I am capable of absolutely anything. When I started in 2013 as a freshman at ASU, I felt insecure and unsure of myself, my goals, my worth, and my purpose,” she says. “ASU helped me gain the confidence I’ve always needed and helped me accomplish so much to be proud of.”

She’s not done with the school yet. Annie has already been accepted into W. P. Carey’s master’s in business analytics program and will begin in the fall.

When Annie’s not in class, studying, working, or involved in one of her many extracurricular activities, she often can be found at her favorite spot on campus, the Skyspace: Air Apparent. She gets tea from Dutch Bros. Coffee across the street and regularly sits inside with friends, enjoying the view and discussing life.

Annie already has goals for her professional life after graduate school, possibly an IT manager at a Fortune 500 company. “My dream job would be anything that allows me to combine my love for data analytics, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and event planning all into one,” she says.

She is enjoying her student worker role with the University Technology Office, and a full-time position there would be ideal, she says, and it would allow her to go back to where it all began — sitting shoulder to shoulder with her Dad.